Rob Gronkowski retired before the 2019 season but came back in 2020 to follow Tom Brady to the Buccaneers. Maybe the tight end returns again, considering he’s only 33, but Gronkowski announced Tuesday that he’s retiring.
He wrote a long post on Instagram, saying goodbye.
“In college, I was asked to write about a dream job opportunity that I wanted to pursue and where the location would be,” Gronkowski wrote. “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 two 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 two years has blown away what I originally wrote about in college, big time. And for this, I want to thank the entire 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. Arghhhhhhh!!”
Gronkowski had a fun offseason that will continue into the season unless his good friend, Brady, can entice him back. The Bucs expressed optimism all offseason that Gronkowski would return, but they drafted Washington’s Cade Otton and Minnesota’s Ko Kieft to go with Cam Brate.
Gronkowski earned base salaries of $9.25 million and $8 million with the team the past two seasons. He also reached $1 million in incentives last year. It is unknown if the sides even talked about money before Gronkowski made his decision.
Gronkowski caught 55 passes for 802 yards with six touchdowns in 2021, playing in 12 games. In his career, he has 621 receptions for 9,286 yards and 92 touchdowns.
If this is it, Gronkowski will surely enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot after the mandatory five-year waiting period.