New England Patriots legend has decided to end his NFL career (again) but a return still can’t be completely ruled out.
First reported by Jordan Schultz and later confirmed in a social media statement on Tuesday, June 21, former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement and will presumably not return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022.
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Gronkowski played in 11 NFL seasons and racked up 621 receptions for 9,286 yards and 92 touchdowns. At 6-feet-6 inches, the tight end redefined the position with his physical play and ability to run over opponents.
In the statement, which didn’t mention his time with the Patriots or the fans, Gronkowski reflected on a college assignment writing about a dream job opportunity, and while he always wanted to be a football player, this time he had to choose a location.
Gronkowski, who originally retired after the 2018 season in a move that would have meant spending his entire career with the Patriots, ended up coming out of retirement in 2020 to play with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. The result? A fourth Super Bowl ring.
Even now, Gronkowski’s agent Drew Rosenhaus still believes that he could return later in the 2022 season.
“It would not surprise me if Tom Brady calls him during the season to come back and Rob answers the call,” Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “This is just my opinion but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rob comes back during the season or next season.”
How Did Gronkowski Perform in New England?
The tight end spent nine seasons in New England and established himself as a top tight end. Gronkowski tallied 521 receptions, 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns.
While with the Patriots, Gronkowski won three Super Bowls and was a four-time All-Pro. After returning from a knee injury that sidelined Gronkowski in 2013, the tight end was named Comeback Player of the Year in 2014.
Gronkowski came out of retirement after spending a single season on the sidelines. With Brady having departed to Tampa Bay, the tight end decided to join him and the move paid off. Gronkowski won another Super Bowl ring and added to his already impressive resume.
What Will Gronkowski’s Legacy Be?
Gronkowski will forever be remembered for what he did to change the position. The argument will likely continue that he is the best tight end in NFL history.
But maybe there is still some chapters left in Gronkowski’s story and if Brady calls he could return to the sidelines once again.