Rob Gronkowski retires: New England Patriots legend ends NFL career on a high after Super Bowl win

Jack Rathborn
The Independent

Rob Gronkowski has announced his retirement from the NFL, ending his career on a high after helping the New England Patriots win Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams.

The tight end won three Super Bowl titles in a nine-year career with the Patriots, as well as five Pro Bowl appearances, to establish himself as one of the all-time greats in his position.

Despite being plagued by injuries in recent years, Gronkowski proved invaluable to Tom Brady in the closing stages of last season, contributing six receptions for 87 yards in the 13-3 Super Bowl victory.

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Gronkowski announced his retirement in a statement: "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.

"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. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organisation for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine.

"Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart of this 1st class organisation. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be.

"But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organisation, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life.

"It was truly an incredible honour to play for such a great established organisation and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success.

(AFP/Getty Images)
(AFP/Getty Images)

"To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of what's next."

Entering the league as the 41st overall pick in the second round of the 2010 draft, Gronkowski proved to be perhaps the greatest tight end of all time.

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rob-gronkowski.jpg

Gronkowski ends his career as one of the all-time greats (Getty)

He scored 79 touchdowns, catching 521 receptions for 7,861 yards in 115 appearances to contribute to one of sport's greatest dynasties under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

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