TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Four-time Super Bowl champion and Buffalo native Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski is headed back into retirement.
The 33-year-old free agent tight end, who most recently played two seasons with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, announced on Instagram Tuesday that he is calling it a career.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
In the Instagram post announcing his retirement, Gronk recalled an assignment in college in which he wrote about his “dream opportunity” – and said he wrote about playing for the Buccaneers.
“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,” he said. “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.”
This is Gronkowski’s second retirement. He initially called it quits after the 2018 NFL season, following eight years with the New England Patriots. He came out of retirement in 2020 to sign with the Buccaneers and join his old New England teammate, quarterback Tom Brady.
In Tampa, Gronk helped lead the Buccaneers to the franchise’s second Super Bowl championship. He played a total of 28 games for the Buccaneers and scored 13 touchdowns in his two seasons in Tampa.
Gronkowski was named to five Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams. His 92 receiving touchdowns rank third all-time among tight ends.
As to what’s next, Gronkowski joked: “maybe sailing the seas… Arghhhhhh!!”