By Lorenzo Recupero
Future hall of famer Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL this week, leaving the New England Patriots and its entire fan base at a colossal loss.
The larger than life sized void left by the 29 year-old won’t easily be replaced, but his legacy has shaped football history for years to come and enough for all to appreciate what he offered the game as he walks away from it.
A once wrongly predicated Belichick draft day bust, Gronk boosted the regional football experience in ways that not only our memories of hip-gyrating and ball-spiking end zone celebrations could speak of but the numbers can help relay.
Gronk’s colorful personality always made him a multi-dimensional entertainer and athlete, but to put his gridiron dominance into perspective you’d have to take a closer look at the body of work he complied over a relatively short NFL career.
In just 9 season, Gronkowski tallied totals NFL players can only dream of as he racked up NFL records along the way.
In 2011, he became the only tight end to lead the league in touchdown receptions (17). He has four 1,000 yard seasons, also an NFL record for tight ends, and the most postseason receiving yards (1,163) & touchdowns (12) for his position. His 23 receptions and 297 receiving yards is the most by any tight end in super bowl history.
With 79 career end zone visits over 521 total receptions, Gronk was the epitome of efficiency for the latest Pats dynasty, snagging a TD pass every 6.6 receptions on average.
Here’s the champ’s official farewell statement posted to his Instagram:
It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here Iamabouttoturn30inafew months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field.
The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart of this 1st class organization. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be.
But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success.
To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.
The former NFL superstar undoubtedly leaves much uncertainty for the Patriots, who lost one of the greatest of all time at his respective position. But those Patriot’s fans unable to cope with losing one great, look on the bright side, we still have the greatest quarterback known to man on our sideline to go along with some cherished lifelong memories of touchdown passes and trademark spikes.
Gronkowski finished a first team all-pro four times, a five time pro bowler, and a three time NFL champion all with the New England Patriots.