Gronk Calls It Quits

 AP – The New England Patriots’ gentle giant has decided to hang up his cleats.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said Sunday that he is retiring from the NFL after nine seasons.

Gronkowski announced his decision via a post on Instagram , saying that a few months shy of his 30th birthday “it’s time to move forward and move forward with a big smile.”

“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,” Gronkowski wrote in his post. “I will be retiring from the game of football today.”

The Sunday Scaries never hit harder than on the first Sunday of the NCAA tournament. Gronk announcing his retirement today certainly doesn’t help with that, but I won’t hold it against him.

For a while, Patriots fans debated who was the second best player of the Bill Belichick Era. There’s no debate any more. It’s Rob Gronkowski and it’s not even close.  There have been a lot of players who have exemplified the Patriot Way in Foxboro. Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown and Julian Edelman immediately come to mind. Few players, though, were the unstoppable force on the field that Rob Gronkowski was.

Gronkowski retires with 79 receiving touchdowns, fourth most among active players. His three Super Bowl rings are more than the three men in front of him on that list combined (0).

With that in mind, it’s hard to blame Gronkowski for choosing to hang ’em up now. It sounded like this was a real possibility a year ago. Instead of retiring at that time, though, Gronk came back and earned his third ring. Instead or retiring after one of the most puzzling defeats of all time, Gronk can retire as a Super Bowl champ. With Brady and Belichick the Patriots are always in the hunt, but retiring on top is never a given. Choosing to step away now, Gronkowski can be sure there’s no bitterness left over from how it all ended. And with a bright future after football, he can be sure to step away without yet another injury or surgery.

We’ll have more on this over the next few days but for now, on behalf of all Patriots fans, thanks, Gronk.

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Categories: NFL, Patriots

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