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Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski Announces Retirement on Instagram

Gronkowski won three Super Bowls and was a four-time All-Pro in nine seasons with New England

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement via Instagram on Sunday. Gronkowski won three Super Bowls and was a four-time All-Pro in nine seasons with New England. 

"It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today," Gronkowski wrote. "I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field."

Gronkowski had mulled his retirement throughout the offseason. He said he will be making a decision in the "next couple of weeks," on Feb. 19, just over a month before Sunday's announcement. 

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick released a statement on Gronkowski's retirement on Sunday night. 

"It was a pleasure and privilege to coach Rob Gronkowski the past nine years," Belichick said. "From his rookie year until his final season and 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 set him apart."

The Arizona product retires as one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history. He has the fourth-most touchdowns of any tight end, finding the end zone 79 times in 115 games. Gronkowski ended 2018 12th among all active players in receiving yards.

Gronkowski entered the NFL as a second-round pick in 2010. He led the NFL with 17 touchdowns in 2011. He crossed the 1,000-yard mark in four seasons, hauling in double-digit touchdowns in five seasons. 

Gronkowski has 81 receptions and 12 touchdowns in 16 career playoff games. He tallied six receptions for 87 yards in the Patriots' 13-3 win over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII