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Rob Gronkowski announced he was going to retire from the NFL after a stellar career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots.
Gronkowski told sports journalist Jordan Schultz the news and announced on Instagram he was going to walk away.
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“In college, I was asked to write about a dream job opportunity that I wanted to pursue and where the location would be. Every time I had to write about my future, no matter what, I picked being a professional football player. For that assignment though, we had to pick the location,” Gronkowski wrote on Instagram.
“So I wrote that I wanted to play in Tampa for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for many reasons, the sunny weather being #1. I completely forgot about writing this report until 2 years ago when I had the opportunity to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And let me tell ya, the journey in Tampa over the last 2 years has blown away what I originally wrote about in college, big time. And for this, 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.
“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. Buccaneers fans, the Krewe, without you guys, none of this is possible, all of ya brought it every game, thank you for all you do. Cheers to what’s next, maybe sailing the seas.”
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Gronkowski’s agent Drew Rosenhaus raised the question of the tight end returning in the middle of the season.
“It would not surprise me if Tom Brady calls him during the season to come back and Rob answers the call. This is just my opinion, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rob comes back during the season or next season,” he told ESPN.
Gronkowski was a second-round pick of the New England Patriots in 2010. In his second season, he led the NFL with 17 touchdown catches and his emergence started to change the way NFL teams utilize tight ends.
He would play in 115 games for the Patriots, catching 521 passes for 7,861 yards and scoring 79 touchdowns. He would call it quits after the 2018 season, citing injury concerns.
However, once Tom Brady ditched the Patriots for the Buccaneers before the 2020 season, it was enough for Gronkowski to come out of retirement to play in Tampa Bay.
He would help the Buccaneers get to the Super Bowl during that year and would score two touchdowns in the game to give Tampa Bay their second title in franchise history. He and Brady have the most touchdowns among any duo in the postseason with 84.
Last season, Gronkowski only played in 12 games due to an injury, and Tampa Bay didn’t make it to the Super Bowl after winning a division title.
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He finishes his career with 92 touchdowns and 621 catches for 9,286 yards. His touchdown catches are third-most all-time among tight ends, and his receiving yards is fifth-most all-time among tight ends.