Rob Gronkowski’s reign in the NFL has finally come to an end, as Gronk himself announced in his own personal post on his Instagram account. He writes, “It all started 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. I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart of this 1st class organization. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be. But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.” He posted this sincere retirement announcement on March 24.

As much as people may make fun of the Gronk and his four remaining brain cells (depicted in his incorrect grammar in the retirement announcement), losing someone like him is quite impactful. He has become a global icon, starring in commercials, being the highlight of Sunday Night Football, and even getting his own Family Guy episode. To put it simply, he is legendary. His list of records is astonishing, and it includes some like the most receptions by a tight end, most touchdowns in a season by a tight end, most career playoff receiving yards by a tight end, and the only tight end to lead the league in receiving touchdowns in a season, to name a few. In nine years with the same team that initially drafted him when he was only 20 years old, he has become arguably the greatest tight end the National Football League has and might ever see.

His retirement also leads to some speculation about future retirements coming from the New England Patriots, specifically Tom Brady’s. At 41 years of age and numerous injuries throughout his 19 year career, many speculate that he will follow Gronkowski in retiring. Will this last Super Bowl win be enough for Tom Brady, or will he follow in Gronkowski’s footsteps and finally call it quits? Only time will tell.

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