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Farewell to a Legend: Rob Gronkowski

Gronkowski

Humourous. Unique. Dominant.

Rob Gronkowski left his gigantic mark on the NFL with his retirement last Sunday. His retirement shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, considering he was contemplating retirement in 2018. The Patriots tried trading him to the Detroit Lions last year when Gronk threatened to retire. What’s more, he suffered multiple injuries over the course of his career that have resulted in countless surgeries.

Background

Once a 2nd round pick (42nd overall) in 2010, Gronkowski had been dominant at the University of Arizona in 2007 and 2008. A back injury caused him to miss his entire junior season which resulted in him falling down the draft board where the Patriots traded up for the future star.

Life in the NFL

As a Patriot, Gronkowski only played one full regular season in his career; he played 115 of a possible 144 games. What makes his career so extraordinary, is that he had missed so many games yet put up unearthly stats. It was always a spectacle to see Gronkowski rebound from a lost, injury-ridden season and come back with utter dominance the next season.

Career Stats
Game Game Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece
Year G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Ctch%
Career 115 100 794 521 7861 15.1 79 76 4.5 68.4
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/26/2019.

Although he didn’t always contribute immensely to the stat sheet, Gronk often made his presence felt in the run game. In fact, what made Gronk so incredible was his ability as both a pass-catcher and a run-blocker. Having him on the line as a blocker was like having an extra left tackle who could catch passes if needed. It just wasn’t fair for opposing teams.

A unique character

Aside from his ability to completely take over a game, his often crude humour, his dancing, and his uncomfortable obsession with the number 69 will be missed.

His sense of humour was something that you just don’t see that often in the NFL – especially from the “no fun” Patriots. For a team that loathes the media, Gronk always found a way to catch the spotlight. As arguably the greatest tight end to ever play the position, Gronk certainly earned the right to show his true colours.

Here is another top Gronk moment for your enjoyment (and education):

Closing out

Although Gronkowski’s retirement will be an irreplaceable loss for New England, the Patriots will now have roughly $13 million available in additional cap space to work on replacing him and signing other free agents. There is a solid TE class in this year’s NFL Draft which also helps soften the blow.

It is fitting that Gronk goes out on top as a Super Bowl champ once again. He made a game-changing catch that set up the lone touchdown in Super Bowl 53 and contributed greatly in the running game to close out the win.

As hard as it is to say goodbye, the memories that Gronkowski gave Pats fans on and off the field will be cherished. Cheers to a solid career, Gronk.

Embed from Getty Images

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