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Goodbye Gronk: The Greatest Tight End of All Time Announces His Retirement

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.

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It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart of this 1st class organization. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be. But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

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.

Follow @BrandedNickDubs on Twitter

Feature image via NYPost

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