Rob Gronkowski is calling it a career — again.
The legendary tight end announced Tuesday in a lengthy Instagram post that he’s retiring from the NFL at age 33.
Gronkowski played nine seasons with the New England Patriots (2010-18) and two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2020-21), during which he earned five Pro Bowl selections and won four Super Bowl titles.
Here’s Gronkowski’s full statement, which focuses on his time with the Bucs:
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. 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 (pirate emoji) 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 (pirate emoji) Arghhhhhh!!
The Patriots selected Gronkowski in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft (42nd overall). He instantly formed a connection with quarterback Tom Brady that ultimately proved historic.
Gronkowski, a four-time First-Team All-Pro, dominated throughout his Patriots tenure and retired in 2019 after winning his third Super Bowl with New England. The retirement proved short-lived, though, as he sat out one season before returning to join forces with Brady in Tampa Bay, where the duo secured another title together.
Gronk is coming off a 2021 campaign in which he totaled 55 catches for 802 receiving yards with six touchdowns in 12 regular-season games. He added nine catches for 116 receiving yards with a TD in two playoff games as the Bucs fell short in their quest to repeat as champs.
There was plenty of debate this offseason over whether Gronkowski would return for another year with the Buccaneers, especially with Brady retiring and then unretiring. But now, we (seemingly) have the answer.
The biggest debate moving forward will center around whether Gronkowski is the greatest tight end in NFL history. And there’s certainly a lot evidence to support him being worthy of that title.