Rob Maaddi, FISM News
Rob Gronkowski has retired for the second time in three years.
The four-time Super Bowl champion announced his decision in an Instagram post on Tuesday, ending an 11-year career in which he established himself as one of the best tight ends to ever play in the National Football League.
Gronkowski spent the past two seasons with the Buccaneers after Tom Brady lured him out of his first retirement to join him in Tampa Bay.
“I want to thank the whole entire first class Buccaneers organization for an amazing ride, trusting me to come back to play and help build a championship team,” Gronkowski wrote in a lengthy post. “I will now be going back into my retirement home, walking away from football again with my head held high knowing I gave it everything I had, good or bad, every time I stepped out on the field. The friendships and relationships I have made will last forever, and I appreciate every single one of my teammates and coaches for giving everything they had as well. From retirement, back to football and winning another championship and now back to chilling out, thank you to all.”
Brady will surely miss his good friend. Together, Brady and Gronkowski won three Super Bowls in New England and one more in Tampa following the 2020 season.
“Teammate, friend, brother, just a few of the words that come to mind when I think of Gronk,” Brady wrote on Instagram. “Nobody has ever embodied the idea of ‘leaving it all out on the field’ like Rob has throughout his entire career. Every single snap, I knew that no matter how many people you put in front of him, he was going to get to his spot. Even more important is the person he was off the field. Focused when he had to be, and FUN the rest of the time. Having Gronk in your locker room was every NFL player’s dream. I’m proud of all that we’ve accomplished together, and even more excited for all you have ahead of you. Congrats Gronk, you deserve it.”
Brady briefly retired earlier this year before deciding to return to play his 23rd season and chase his eighth Super Bowl title. Already, there’s speculation he’ll convince the 33-year-old Gronkowski to play again.
“It would not surprise me if Tom Brady calls him during the season to come back and Rob answers the call,” Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN. “This is just my opinion but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rob comes back during the season or next season.”
Gronkowski had 621 catches for 9,286 yards and 92 touchdowns in the regular season. He caught 98 passes for 1,389 yards and 15 TDs in 22 postseason games.
Known for his smile, party-loving personality and thunderous spikes after scoring touchdowns, Gronkowski was not only an excellent receiver but an outstanding blocker.
“Rob is a true professional who left it all on the field for us the past two seasons and helped establish a championship culture in our building,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a statement. “He played a crucial part in our Super Bowl LV championship season in 2020 and battled through a number of injuries last year while on the way to one of the most productive receiving yardage seasons in his 11-year career. It is always difficult to see a great player walk away from the game when he is still enjoying that kind of success, but the overwhelming emotions I feel today are gratitude and respect for one of the greatest tight ends who ever played the game. While his on-field accomplishments will surely earn him a gold jacket and a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it is his humble attitude and team-first approach to the game that truly defined his career.”