Sunday scarries hit a whole new level for New England Patriots fans this weekend.

In a move that Pats fans feared was looming for some time, Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL in a lengthy Instagram post thanking the Patriots, his teammates and fans.

The post quickly was flooded with comments from teammates and other celebrities congratulating the likely Canton-bound tight end on an incredible nine-year career, including Tom Brady.

But the Pats quarterback didn’t stop there. Brady posted his own image of Gronk in an emotional post, saying “the NFL was a better place with you in it!”

Is it us or is it a little dusty in here?

Gronkowski’s retirement has to be pretty bittersweet for Brady. On one hand, Brady clearly is thrilled for his friend and teammate to be taking the next step in his life, and doing so on his own terms. On the flip side, Brady and the Pats lose a great locker room presence and a player that seemingly is irreplaceable on the field when he is on his game.

Gronkowski hauled in 79 regular-season touchdown passes over his nine-year career, including 12 in the postseason with nearly all of them coming from No. 12.

It’s a connection that Patriots fans — and Brady — will miss greatly.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images