New England great Gronk calls it a career after nine seasons


Chris Samuel, Contributor

Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski is retiring from the NFL after nine seasons. He is leaving an incredible legacy for the position. According to Pro Football Focus the three time Super Bowl champion statistically retires as one of the greatest of all time.

Gronkowski commonly known as “Gronk” was drafted out of the University of Arizona in 2010 after two modest seasons as a Wildcat. During his tenure, Gronkowski caught 75 passes for 1,197 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. In 2009, he missed his junior season due to back surgery causing his draft stock to fall.

The New England Patriots acquired Gronkowski with the 42nd overall pick in the 2010 Draft via trade from the Oakland Raiders. In the 2010 preseason, Gronkowski was one of three players in the league to score four touchdowns. The early success continued as he caught his first regular season touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals on a one yard pass from Tom Brady.

In a Week 10 game, Gronkowski caught three touchdown passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers, becoming the first Patriots rookie and youngest player to ever do so. For his rookie season he was voted Rookie of the Week three times and was selected to his very first Pro Bowl after scoring ten touchdowns in his first NFL season.

After a great rookie year, he went into full superstardom as a sophomore. The tight end scored 17 touchdowns, the most by a tight end in one season in NFL history.

Also, in 2011, the Patriots used an unusual offensive scheme with two tight ends, Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. This disrupted many defenses and forced linebackers to enter into coverage cutting down on their opponents pass rush. The tandem carried the Patriots to Super Bowl XLVI, but the team lost to the New York Giants 21-17.

In 2013 and 2016, Gronk missed both postseasons due to forearm and back surgeries. Despite the injuries, Gronkowski’s presence always gave defenses chills and was the Patriots top target for almost his entire tenure there. In his four appearances in the Super Bowl, Gronkowski is the all-time leader in catches for a tight end (23) and receiving yards b (297). His large frame (6’6, 265 lbs.) forced defenders to put all their might to bring him down.

Back in April of 2018, with speculation Gronkowski would retire, New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick convinced him to play one more season. In his final season, he recorded 47 catches for 682 yards and scored three touchdowns. He finished his career on top winning Super Bowl 52 over the Los Angeles Rams 13-3.

The four-time All-Pro and three-time Super Bowl winner leaves with a number of impressive records for his position. Amongst tight ends, he ranks number one all-time in postseason catches, postseason yards and most seasons with at least ten touchdowns.

Outside the gridiron, he is notorious for having an extravagant personality.

When asked about Gronkowski, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady replied in 2015 “Gronk is one of a kind person, player and friend. He is one of the most positive people I have ever been around and he loves to have fun. What you see is what you get and whether he is dancing, singing laughing or spiking, he is true to himself”.

As a phenomenal player and person, Gronk is sure to be missed.