Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski is again calling it a career.
The 32-year-old Gronkowski announced his retirement Tuesday via social media.
Gronkowski had previously retired after the 2018 season with the New England Patriots due to injuries.
The 2010 second-round draft pick out of Arizona largely credits quarterback Tom Brady for setting the expectations for his career, and it was Brady who summoned him out of retirement in 2020 to play for the Bucs.
Though their personalities differed immensely — Gronkowski playful, fun-loving and never known to have a bad day by coaches or teammates; Brady, methodical and intense — they developed a close connection both on the field and off.
“He saw the potential,” Gronkowski said. “At the beginning, we were up and down. It was basically like I was up and down because he knew what he wanted out of me and I didn’t totally understand everything. I would say [it took] about a year. By the end of my rookie year, we had that connection going …”
Gronkowksi’s breakthrough year came in 2011, when he set the NFL record for most receiving touchdowns by a tight end with 17. The year before, Gronk unveiled what became known as his signature move — the “Gronk Spike,” where he forcefully slammed the ball onto the field after every 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 a First-Team All-Pro in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2017, and was picked 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 to the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade Team and its 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.
He leaves the game with the most career touchdowns by a tight end in postseason history (15) — and the second-most at any position behind only receiver Jerry Rice (22). He also had the most 100-yard games by a tight end in NFL history and the most total TDs in a single season by a tight end in league history (18 in 2011).
Gronkowski’s 92 total career touchdowns are 12th most in NFL history and third most at the tight end position behind Antonio Gates (116) and Tony Gonzalez (111). He was the only tight end in NFL history to post three seasons of 1,000 yards receiving and 10-plus touchdowns (2011, ’14, ’15).