Rob Gronkowski tributes poured in from around the sports world after the New England Patriots tight end officially announced his retirement Sunday afternoon on social media.
Shortly after Gronkowski’s announcement, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft both released statements commending the superstar and thanking him for what he brought to New England during his nine seasons with the team.
In his statement, Kraft said he’s eagerly anticipating the day Gronkowski, considered by many to be the best tight end in NFL history, is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“In the nine years that I have known Rob Gronkowski, I have never known him to have a bad day,” Kraft’s statement read. “He always has a youthful exuberance about him and is a joy to be around. As a player, he earned the respect of his coaches and teammates for his hard work, preparation, selfless attitude and the sheer dominance of his game. ‘Gronk’ quickly became a fan favorite and the most dominant player at his position for nearly a decade. I look forward to honoring him in the near future as both a Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer.
“As great of a player as he was, he is an even better person and ambassador of the game. Throughout his career, he made countless appearances in the community and there was no better remedy for hospital patients than a visit from Gronk. While Patriots fans are certainly going to miss seeing him play, he will be a Patriot for life and celebrated as a three-time Super Bowl champion.”
Belichick praised Gronkowski for his otherworldly football ability and team-first attitude.
“It was a pleasure and a privilege to coach Rob Gronkowski the past nine years,” Belichick said. “From his rookie year until his final season and through countless times in between, Rob was a major reason why we won games and championships. His elite combination of size, skill, intelligence, toughness and ability to perform in pressure situations set him apart.
“Rob’s impact on our team and organization was felt in many ways. In the ultimate team sport, Rob was a great, great teammate. His production spoke for itself, but his daily attitude, unmistakably positive energy wherever he went and toward whoever he touched will never be forgotten.
“Rob will leave an indelible mark on the Patriots organization and the game as among the best, most complete players at his position to ever play.”
Thumbnail photo via Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports Images