Rob Gronkowski has retired from the NFL.

The 29-year-old New England Patriots tight end capped off a career with four All-Pro honors and three championship rings on Sunday. In an Instagram post, one of the NFL’s biggest personalities acknowledged why he was leaving football behind.

Pats Star ‘Gronk’ Leaving NFL after nine seasons

 

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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

While still a dominant playmaker, the tight end had clearly lost a step. He no longer required double teams from a defense but was able to make up for it with excellent run blocking.

“In the nine years that I have known Rob Gronkowski, I have never known him to have a bad day,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. “He always has a youthful exuberance about him and is a joy to be around.”

In the last game of his career, Gronkowski’s last catch was a deep ball thrown into triple coverage that he pulled down to put the Pats within scoring range. Moments later, they’d push the ball into the end-zone and he’d walk away with a third Super Bowl ring.

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