After coming out of his 2019 retirement to spend the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – with whom he won the Super Bowl in the 2020 campaign – the future Hall of Fame tight end took to Instagram on Tuesday to reveal he is once again 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."
A four-time Super Bowl champion who won his first three titles during nine seasons with the New England Patriots, four-time first-team All-Pro Gronkowski entered this offseason as a free agent but implied if he was going to continue to play it would be with Tom Brady.
When Brady announced in mid-March he would play again for the Buccaneers in 2022 after briefly retiring, many expected Gronkowski would also return seeing as Brady had already lured Gronk out of retirement once.
The oft-injured 33-year-old, however, decided it was time to step away.
"The friendships and relationships I have made will last forever, and I appreciate every single one of my teammates and coaches for giving everything they had as well," he wrote. "From retirement, back to football and winning another championship and now back to chilling out, thank you to all."
Gronkowski retires as one of the most decorated and dangerous players at his position in NFL history. With soft hands coupled with the power to plow over would-be tacklers, Gronkowski ranks third among all tight ends with 92 career touchdown receptions, while his 9,286 receiving yards rank fifth.
As one of Brady's most reliable and trusted targets across their time together in New England and Tampa, Gronkowski amassed 15 receiving touchdowns in the playoffs – trailing only Hall of Famer Jerry Rice's 22 for the most in NFL history.