Former Patriots great Rob Gronkowski retires for a second time

Rob Gronkowski, arguably the greatest tight end of all time, has announced his retirement — for a second time.

The four-time Super Bowl champion and former Patriot made the announcement Tuesday via social media.

“I want to thank the whole entire first class Buccaneers organization for an amazing ride, trusting me to come back to play and help build a championship team. I will now be going back into my retirement home, walking away from football again with my head held high knowing I gave it everything I had, good or bad, every time I stepped out on the field,” Gronkowski said in his statement.

“The friendships and relationships I have made will last forever, and I appreciate every single one of my teammates and coaches for giving everything they had as well. From retirement, back to football and winning another championship and now back to chilling out, thank you to all.”

The 33-year-old tight end announced his retirement from the Patriots following the 2018 season, only to return to football in 2020 to play with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.

He played two seasons with the Buccaneers.

Gronkowski was part of three Super Bowl winning teams with the Patriots, and added another championship ring with Brady and the Buccaneers.

Rams defensive back Marcus Peters grabs Rob Gronkowski near the end of first quarter to Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on February 3, 2019. (Staff Photo By Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Last year, he had 55 catches for 802 yards and six touchdowns, playing in 12 games. He was a pivotal player in the Bucs’ championship run the previous season.

While Gronk indicated he was done, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus left the door open. He said he wouldn’t be stunned if the legendary tight end returned once again.

Rosenhaus, who has represented Gronkowski for quite some time, basically laid the groundwork for Brady coaxing Gronk out of retirement a second time.

“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 via text. “This is just my opinion but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rob comes back during the season or next season.”

Gronkowski has endured many injuries throughout his 11 seasons in the NFL, so that likely factored into his decision.

If Gronkowski, a five-time Pro Bowl player, does in fact leave for good, he’ll leave with a Hall of Fame-worthy resume.

His 92 touchdown catches is third-most by a tight end all-time. He also has the most touchdowns by a tight end in postseason history (15), while he owns the record for most 100-plus yard reception games by a tight end (32).

The fun-loving Gronk was also the only tight end in NFL history to post three seasons of 1,000 yards receiving and 10-plus touchdowns, all of those coming while he was with New England.

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