By ALEXA ECKEMBRECHER
After nine remarkable seasons and three Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots, the superstar tight end made the decision to retire.
Rob Gronkowski, better known as “Gronk,” announced his retirement in a lengthy Instagram post last Sunday.
“It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL Draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far,” Gronk wrote. “I will be retiring from the game of football today.”
Bill Belichick, the Patriot’s head coach, also released a statement that same day. He called Gronk one of the “most complete players at his position” and commented on the 29-year-old’s impact on the entire New England organization and football league.
“Rob’s impact on our team and organization was felt in many ways. In the ultimate team sport, Rob was a great, great teammate,” Belichick said. “His production spoke for itself, but his daily attitude, unmistakably positive energy wherever he went and toward whoever he touched will never be forgotten. Rob will leave an indelible mark on the Patriots organization and the game as among the best.”
Gronk had reportedly considered retiring prior to staring the 2018 season, but he decided to play one more season. Unfortunately, his multiple injuries caused him to miss three games and put up the worst numbers in his career. The tight end caught just three touchdown passes during the regular season, marking his personal career low.
During his recent Super Bowl win, however, Gronk caught six passes for 87 yards. His final career reception placed the ball at the Rams’ 2-yard line, leading to the only touchdown in the entire game.
Ever since being drafted second round at the 2010 NFL Draft, Gronk made the most Super Bowl receptions than any other tight end in NFL history (23) and tied for the second-most receiving touchdowns for any player in NFL playoff history (12). In the postseason, he had the most tight end receptions (81), most receiving yards (1,163) and most receiving touchdowns (12). As per receiving yards during the regular season, Gronk will also retire with the most per game (68.4) for any tight end.
In total, the 6-foot-6-inch tight end’s NFL career will end with 521 catches for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdown receptions — something truly legendary.
Perhaps in five years, once he would be eligible, Gronk will be inducted in the Hall of Fame. One person that undoubtedly believes he will is the Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft.
“In the nine years that I have known Rob Gronkowski, I have never known him to have a bad day,” Kraft said in a statement. “Gronk quickly became a fan favorite and the most dominant player at his position for nearly a decade. I look forward to honoring him in the near future as both a Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer.”
I will certainly miss watching Gronk play on Sunday nights. He was amusing, passionate and definitely one of the most driven players in the league. However, like most fans, I understand the reasons behind his retirement. He had suffered multiple injuries and underwent numerous surgeries which were inevitably reflecting on the field.
Likewise, I am pleased to see the majority of the news outlets to be reporting on his announcement with multiple highlights of his notable accomplishments on and off the field. I reckon its important to note that while he was a football player, he was also a person outside of that.