Gronk out: Star tight end retires for the 2nd time

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight-end Rob Gronkowski calls it a career again.

Gronkowski, 32, announced his retirement Tuesday via social media.

“I would like to thank the entire first-class Buccaneers organization for a fantastic trip, trusting that I would come back to play and help build a championship team. I would now return to my retirement home and walk away from football again with my head held high knowing that I gave it everything I had, good or bad, every time I stepped out on the field, “Gronkowski said in his statement.

“The friendships and relationships I have gained will last forever and I appreciate every single one of my teammates and coaches for also giving everything they had. From retirement, back to football and winning another championship and now back to relax, thank you all there. “

However, Gronkowski’s agent told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he would not be surprised if his client could be lured out of retirement for the second time by Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.

“It would not surprise me if Tom Brady calls him during the season to come back and Rob answers the call,” Drew Rosenhaus told Schefter. “This is just my opinion, but I would not be surprised if Rob comes back during the season or next season.”

Gronkowski had previously retired after the 2018 season with the New England Patriots due to injury. The selection for the second round from Arizona in 2010 is largely attributed to Brady for setting expectations for his career, and it was Brady who called him out of retirement in 2020 to play for the Bucs.

Although their personalities were immensely different – Gronkowski playful, cheerful and never known for having a bad day by coaches or teammates; Brady, methodical and intense – they developed a close connection both on and off the field.

Gronkowski is the second key member of the Buccaneers’ offensive to retire this year, after guard Ali Marpet, who retired in February. Brady even announced his retirement in February to retire only 40 days later.

Gronkowski’s breakthrough year came in 2011, when he set the NFL record for most receiving touchdowns with a tight end with 17. The year before, Gronk revealed what became known as his signature move – “Gronk Spike”, where he hit hard. ball on the field after each touchdown he scored.

Gronkowski won four Super Bowls — three with the Patriots (XLIX, LI, LIII) and one with the Buccaneers (LV) in 2020, a game in which he had two touchdowns or “tuddies” as he liked to call them.

He was named First-Team All-Pro in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2017 and was selected to five Pro Bowls (2011, ’12, ’14, ’15 and ’17). He led the NFL in receiving touchdowns in 2011 and was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2014. He was named the NFL’s 2010 All-Decade Team and its 100th Anniversary Team.

He leaves the game with the most touchdowns in his career with a tight end in the history of the post-season (15) – and second most in any position after only the receiver Jerry Rice (22). He also had the most 100-yard games with a tight end in NFL history and the most overall TDs in a single season with a tight end in league history (18 in 2011).

Gronkowski’s total career touchdowns are 12th most in NFL history and third most in the close position behind Antonio Gates (116) and Tony Gonzalez (111). He was the only tight-end in NFL history to post three seasons receiving 1,000 yards and 10 plus touchdowns (2011, ’14, ’15).

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