New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski finally gave us an answer via Instagram to the question of his retirement, writes our guest writer Max Hillman.
A question that has been seemingly synonymous with his name for a while now.
Maybe even more so since the 2018 season Super Bowl in which he won his third championship ring.
The tight-end announced will be retiring from the NFL on to.
And no doubt Gronk-spiking his way to Canton as a probable first ballot Hall of Famer.
Since entering the league out of the University of Arizona in 2010, Gronk has given us many highlights.
Let’s not forget the laughs and shocks that will live on forever.
Super Bowl winning moment
In his nine seasons in the league, he accumulated 521 catches, 7,861 receiving yards, and 80 total touchdowns in just 115 games, including 12 in the postseason.
These are his all time great stats that were recognised around the league.
This earned him multiple accolades such as five Pro Bowl appearances and four First Team All-Pro selections.
His infamous 2011 season saw him rack up the most receiving yards in the league.
Not just out of the tight ends but out of every receiver in the NFL.
Aside from the stats the sheer dominance he showed makes Gronkowski one of the greatest tight ends the game has ever seen.
Greatest of all time for a TE?
The phrase GOAT is being thrown around a lot these days.
However, there is a legitimately strong argument for him being the greatest of all time in terms of the TE position.
One memory particularly striking was in a game against the Washington Redskins.
Upon receiving the ball from Tom Brady, Gronk powers through Redskins defenders like a bulldozer.
He took them 20 yards while they desperately hang on in an attempt to bring him down.
They ultimately failed until a fourth defender came and helped.
It is in game moments like this that put RG87’s name up there with HoF TE’s such as that of Tony Gonzalez.
His final catch in the league came in an eventual game winning drive in Super Bowl LIII.
He brought in a ball with double coverage to the two yard line and therefore setting up the games sole touchdown.
Forever cementing his legendary status on the field.
Legend off the field as well as on
However, it isn’t just Gronks’ on the field exploits that make him a household, fan favourite name.
Off the field he has provided fans off all teams with moments that make them laugh and so can’t help but love him from then on.
Whether you saw him jump into the ring at Wrestlemania, go undercover as a Lyft driver or crash a White House press conference, there is a Gronk moment for you.
The well known lover of partying even managed to rack up a bar tab in excess of $100,000 at a Flo Rida concert, enforcing his play hard party hard attitude.
He wasn’t always the typical frat boy goofball he was often portrayed to be.
His Gronk Nation Foundation is a major community aid, helping and inspiring kids to be the best they can be, whether in sports or elsewhere.
Gronkowski showed how to use his platform to do good, even if he has been drinking a lot of beer whilst doing it.
Overcoming his injuries
What may inspire and solidify Gronk as an all time legend is also how he has faced adversity.
He has done this in many forms such as his injuries and overcame these to stay a high quality player throughout his career.
Despite his 16 career notable injuries (including tears, sprains and breakages), he has managed to overcome these and still break records.
The (now) Ex-Pat has still managed to be the PFF’s highest graded TE in the AFC East for the 2018 season.
Let’s not forget this is a a division including season standout Chris Herndon.
Overall, whether you know him from his consistent on-field dominance of the entire league or his off the field antics, you can’t help but love him.
And also you can’t help but love his energy no matter your allegiances to other teams.
Gronk still has endless career possibilities, he could definitely provide entertaining commentary.
That is if he decides not to pursue a Dwayne Johnson style acting career.
And there is always the chance he will pull a Jason Witten-esque return to the game!
What will he do next?
Whatever Rob Gronkowski decides to do next, the future HoFer has left the league completely different to when he entered.
He innovated the TE position and improve it for future generations of this position.
We cannot wait for his induction into the walls of Canton, Ohio and he will be missed for a long, long time.
Thank you Gronk!
Max Hillman is a Bills fan who has followed the game since 2009, @18hillman on twitter if you have any thoughts!