It feels like just yesterday Belichick was doing his thing in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft when he saw an injured, sliding Rob Gronkowski and snatched him up. His size was imposing and it was clear right away that he was not only bringing talent, but a new personality that this Patriots regime has never seen.
Just like that, 9 years and a Hall of Fame career are over after Gronk announced his retirement Sunday afternoon.
I don’t know where to really begin with how impactful and legendary Gronk’s career was so let’s start at the beginning. In 2010 the Patriots were coming off a few tough years including a loss to the Jets in the playoffs and a Brady knee injury. Things in New England were looking lower than they had since Brady and Belichick’s arrival and they were looking for an answer. Welker was coming into his own, but it was clear a slot receiver wasn’t enough to get back to the big game. Then Gronk arrived.
He not only re-solidified the offense of the greatest dynasty the league has ever seen, but he redefined what it meant to be a tight end. He wasn’t a pass catching specialist or a stay at home blocker. He was both, and elite at both facets. The league had never seen a force at that position quite like Gronk. He shattered records like it was a hobby of his and did so while maintaining his attitude and changed the way people in house, like Belichick, viewed the way players talked and presented themselves as a Patriot.
Gronk was the perfect blend of athleticism, football intelligence, brute force and greatness. If a scientist were to make a football player from scratch it would come out looking like Gronk. There is no second dynasty without Gronk. He was always the piece that made it all work. If he wasn’t having his best game he’d open up the field for everyone else. If he was having his best game then look out because there was a freight train running up the seam.
As a Patriots fan there’s so much to be thankful to have witnessed and experienced. Very high on that list of memories will forever be Gronk. There will never be another player like him to suit up and it was a blessing to have him in New England. Thank you Gronk, see you at the Hall of Fame induction. You’ll look great in gold.
I’m going to go cry now.
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