Gronk Goes For Good

Arvind Pillai, Editor

It has been two months since Super Bowl LIII came to a close, resulting in a decisive victory for the Patriots and New England as a whole. However, on March 24th, 2019, the Patriots have learned that they likely will be losing a teammate who was great on the field and outside the field. Rob Gronkowski, better known as ‘Gronk’, has unofficially announced his retirement from American football. The Tight End player has been playing professionally since 2010, where he initially gained popularity after becoming the youngest rookie in NFL history to catch three touchdowns in a single game from the quarterback. His career continued to flourish in 2011 when he was given the “Hardest Working Man” award on two consecutive weeks by and ending the season with 1327 receiving yards, breaking the NFL record for Tight Ends. On June 8th, 2012, Gronk signed a six-year contract extension that was worth over $54 million. In the following years, he would continue to be a valuable Tight End to the Patriots, unanimously named the Tight End for the 2014 All-Pro team, and was ranked the 9th best NFL player of the season in 2016.

Alongside being widely-known as one of the greats to play for the Patriots in the game, he was also widely loved by friends and teammates outside of the game. When asked by ESPN reporters about Gronk’s decision to retire, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said that it was a “pleasure and privilege” to work with Gronkowski for the past nine years and noted Gronk’s colorful and amiable personality as having a huge impact on the morality of the team. He added that Rob “will leave an indelible mark on the Patriots organization and the game as among the best, most complete players at his position to ever play”. On an Instagram post, teammate and friend of Gronkowski, Tom Brady, also noted Gronk’s “fun-loving, inspiring, and positive energy” as a testament to his impact on the team. Gronk was not only indispensable to his team, but was also a fan favorite: his Instagram account has over 3.2 million followers, and his retirement post garnished over 1.5 million likes. The post also had 14,000 comments from users who expressed both sorrow at the football player’s decision and gratitude for being such an instrumental component of the Patriots.

Gronk’s decision to retire from American football stems from the toll the sport has taken on his health. Since his rookie days, Gronk has had several injuries, some minor and some even taking him off of the field. Throughout his career, he has torn his ACL, sprained his ankle several times, and even suffered from a pulmonary contusion which placed him on injured reserve for a Super Bowl. Along with this, Gronk has also noted how the extremities of the sport which he has had to put up with has contributed to a weakened mental state. “To take hits to the thigh, to take hits to your head, abusing your body, isn’t what your brain wants. When your body is abused, it can bring down your mood. You have to be able to deal with that, too, “ he stated to ESPN. He has been pondering leaving the sport since the beginning of the 2018/2019 season, where fans were unsure whether he would make a return.

Regardless of whether Patriots fans are remorseful or mad at Gronkowski’s decision, New England’s football fans and players are mourning the loss of a great player, sending him well wishes wherever he goes.