BOSTON (CBS) — While Rob Gronkowski’s retirement announcement Sunday was not a shock to many, Patriots fans are still sad to see the Patriots tight end go.
“As a Patriots fan, I’m definitely going to miss the impact he had on the field,” one fan outside Gilette Stadium told WBZ-TV.
Another added, “His personality will definitely be missed because he brought something to the team. He brought a spark to the team, he definitely did. He made it exciting in a sometimes otherwise boring era where we just keep winning but he made it exciting in a way.”
One man said, “He had a great career, he was great as a Patriot, and I’m happy that he decided to retire as a Patriot.”
Social media lit up with fans and teammates taking the chance to thank and honor Gronk.
“What an honor and privilege to play with you these past nine years @gronk! You accomplished so much and our team was almost unbeatable when you were on the field! Your fun-loving, inspiring, and positive energy made an impact on everybody you came into contact with! Not just that, but for as great as a player you are, you are a better teammate and person. The NFL was a better place with you in it! But I have no doubt you will be a success in anything you do!!! Love you pal!,” quarterback Tom Brady said on Instagram.
Coach Bill Belichick released a statement saying in part: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to coach Rob Gronkowski the past nine years. 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 sets him apart.”
In a statement from Patriots owner Robert Kraft, he highlighted Gronk’s “youthful exuberance” and said “‘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 he was, he is an even better person and ambassador of the game.”