Say it isn’t so. After long speculation, yesterday Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski took a bow announcing his retirement concluding his 2 years with the Buccaneers and an 11-year NFL career that can only be described as amazing. Drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round as the 42nd overall pick, Gronkowski retired at the close of the 2018 season after 9 seasons with the Patriots.
During his tenure the Patriots, Gronkowski played in three Super Bowls, claiming two Super Bowl victories. Gronkowski was unable to play in Super Bowl LVI, but the Patriots were victorious awarding him a third ring. Through injuries and rehab the familiar 87 would keep crossing that goal line over nine seasons with the New England Patriots.
His short-lived retirement ended when Gronkowski answered the call of his friend and quarterback, Tom Brady. Joining Brady as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020. The Buccaneers wanted a championship and with Gronkowski and Brady capitalized on the coordination gained over 8 seasons with the Patriots. Working with the outstanding play of their teammates, the Buccaneers led by Tom Brady and assisted by Rob Gronkowski got exactly that. In an epic win over the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs with a score of 31 – 9 the Buccaneers got the W.
Could this really be the end? Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus thinks otherwise. Rosenhaus told ESPN, “It would not surprise [him] if Tom Brady calls [Gronk] during the season to come back and Rob answers the call. This is just my opinion, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rob comes back during the season or next season.”
If this truly is the end, Gronkowski closes the book on not only a hall of fame career, but arguably the career of one of the greatest tight end of all time. Beginning with the 2010 All-Decade Team then moving on to be named the 2014 AP and PFWA Comeback Player of the Year along with the 2019 NFL’s Top 100 Anniversary Team Gronkowski’s accomplishments stack up against the best of all time. Add a 5-time pro bowler, 4-time All-Pro, and 4-time Super Bowl Champion to make him a first round hall of fame guarantee.
Even if Gronkowski returns it is doubtful he would pass Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates. Although Gronkowski battled seasons with serious injuries over his 11-year career, he racked up over 9000 receiving yards, 92 touchdowns, 621 receptions, and averaged 9.7 yards per target over 143 career games.* Gronkowski has absolutely left his mark in every aspect of the game.
From his stomping flat-footed run to the magic hands, Gronkowski’s play was unmatched during his time in the league. At 6″6″ he became and imposing run blocker and a match-up nightmare for defenses. Dominating defenders and imposing his will on the edge seemed almost effortless at points. For every incredible play there is someone on the opposing team scratching their head questioning how he did that. This big hulking seemingly awkward figure of a man just does his job.
I am thankful to have been able to see such Gronkowski play! However, history does have a problem of repeating itself. Is this really the end? Will Brady make the call this year or the next? If so, will Gronk answer? Only time will tell. What we do know for certain is that no matter what Gronk decides to do he will continue the party wherever he is!
If this is it Rob. Thank you for your heart and contributions. Your absence will be felt for years to come.