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Four-time Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski announces retirement after 11 seasons with Patriots, Buccaneers

Rob Gronkowski is retiring, again.

The future Hall of Fame tight end announced Tuesday he is walking away from football after 11 seasons.

"In college, I was asked to write about a dream job opportunity that I wanted to pursue and where the location would be," Gronk wrote on Instagram. "Every time I had to write about my future, no matter what, I picked being a professional football player. For that assignment though, we had to pick the location. So I wrote that I wanted to play in Tampa for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for many reasons, the sunny weather being #1. I completely forgot about writing this report until 2 years ago when I had the opportunity to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And let me tell ya, the journey in Tampa over the last 2 years has blown away what I originally wrote about in college, big time.

"And for this, 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. 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. Buccaneers fans, the Krewe, without you guys, none of this is possible, all of ya brought it every game, thank you for all you do. Cheers to what's next, maybe sailing the seas. Arghhhhhh!!"

Gronk previously retired in 2019 after nine years with the New England Patriots but returned to join Tom Brady in Tampa Bay for another run at a Super Bowl in 2020.

Gronkowski leaves football as arguably the greatest tight end in NFL history. In 11 seasons, he compiled 621 catches, 9,286 yards, and 92 TDs. During his Patriots heyday, Gronk was a monster as both a blocker and pass-catcher, compiling four seasons of 1,000-plus yards and five double-digit touchdowns campaigns. He won four Super Bowls, was named to the All-Pro team four times, and was selected to the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Peak Gronk was an unstoppable force when healthy.

After returning to football in 2020, he helped the Bucs win Super Bowl LV, playing all 16 regular-season games. In 2021 he looked fully back to form and was a force with Brady, netting 55 catches for 802 yards and six TDs in just 12 games last season.

"Rob is a true professional who left it all on the field for us the past two seasons and helped establish a championship culture in our building," Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said as part of a statement in reaction to the news. "The overwhelming emotions I feel today are gratitude and respect for one of the greatest tight ends who ever played the game."

Tampa had been leaving the door open to Gronk returning this season to chase another Lombardi. Instead, the party animal chose to walk away at 33 years old. The decision leaves the Bucs with Cameron Brate and rookies Cade Otton and Ko Kieft atop their TE depth chart.

Of course, there is always the chance that Brady calls up Gronk during the season to unretire once again.

"This is just my opinion but I wouldn't be surprised if Rob comes back during the season or next season," Gronkowski's agent Drew Rosenhaus told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. "It would not surprise me if Tom Brady calls him during the season to come back and Rob answers the call. Just my opinion."

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