Rob Gronkowski said he was going to take some time after the Super Bowl to decide if he wants to continue playing football in 2019, and New England Patriots fans are going to be disappointed with his choice.
On Sunday, Gronkowski announced that he is retiring from playing. He thanked Patriots owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick and a host of others in a lengthy Instagram post.
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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. 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.
There had been reports recently that people close to Gronk expected him to keep playing, but he obviously had other plans. The All-Pro tight end has suffered a number of serious injuries throughout his career, and he appeared to be in rough physical condition after the Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl. While Gronkowski and Brady appeared to hint at a Gronk return after the big win, it is not a huge shock that the 29-year-old is hanging up the cleats.
Despite retiring at a relatively young age, Gronkowski will be a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame. His 79 career touchdowns are tied for 28th all time in NFL history.