Tight end Rob Gronkowski has announced his second retirement after resuming his career over the last two years to join quarterback Tom Brady with the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay General Manager Jason Licht had said during the offseason that the organization would give Gronkowski all the time he needed to make a decision on retirement, keeping a roster spot available for him should he elect to return. But now that does not appear to be necessary.
“Rob is a true professional who left it all on the field for us the past two seasons and helped establish a championship culture in our building,” Licht said in a statement released by the team. “He played a crucial part in our Super Bowl LV championship season in 2020 and battled through a number of injuries last year while on the way to one of the most productive receiving yardage seasons in his 11-year career. It is always difficult to see a great player walk away from the game when he is still enjoying that kind of success, but the overwhelming emotions I feel today are gratitude and respect for one of the greatest tight ends who ever played the game. While his on-field accomplishments will surely earn him a gold jacket and a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it is his humble attitude and team-first approach to the game that truly defined his career.”
Gronkowski played an integral role on the 2020 Bucs, catching 45 passes for 623 yards with seven touchdowns in the regular season. He then caught eight passes for 110 yards with a pair of touchdowns in the 2020 postseason. Both of the TD receptions came in Super Bowl LV.
While Gronkowski played only 12 games in 2021, he caught 55 passes for 802 yards with six touchdowns.
Still, agent Drew Rosenhaus has kept the door open for Gronkowski to return from retirement again. Rosenhaus told PFT via text on Tuesday, “In my opinion, he isn’t done.”