BOSTON (CBS) — Rob Gronkowski is officially retiring from the NFL. The tight end made the announcement on Instagram Sunday evening.
“It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few 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,” he wrote.
The news is not particularly shocking. Gronkowski, 29, admitted after last year’s Super Bowl loss that he would have to evaluate whether or not he’d return to the football field in 2018. He ultimately did decide to play another season, but Gronkowski’s production in the pass game dipped in 2018. Still, he will go down as one of the most dominant tight ends to ever play the game and a surefire Hall of Famer.
In nine seasons, all with the Patriots, Gronkowski caught 521 passes for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns (plus one more score that went down as a rushing touchdown). He entered Super Bowl LIII with 75 receptions for 1,076 yards and 12 touchdowns in 15 playoff games, including a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIX vs. Seattle and a pair of touchdowns in Super Bowl LII vs. Philadelphia.
Gronkowski faced retirement questions all week leading up to Super Bowl LIII, and he answered them as honestly as he could, saying that he’d have to wait until the season ended to decide on his future.
Gronkowski caught six passes for 87 yards in the Super Bowl win over the Rams, including a diving grab for a 29-yard gain in the fourth quarter to set up the Patriots’ lone touchdown in their 13-3 victory.