Rob Gronkowski: The One and Only

There will never be another Rob Gronkowski.

Rob Gronkowski has decided to retire at the age of 29 after 9 seasons in the NFL. I don’t think many will disagree with me calling Rob Gronkowski the most dominant Tight End the NFL has ever seen. He was the perfect combination of size, strength, and speed. Rob ended his career with 521 catches, 7861 yards, and 79 touchdowns in his 9 NFL season.

Gronkowski’s early retirement was the result of 17 different injuries he suffered over the course of his career. But within those 115 games, we have never seen a player quite like him. Since his debut season in 2010, he lead the league in touchdown receptions. The other guys in the top-3: WR Dez Bryant (78) and WR Antonio Brown (74). And while Gronk didn’t play long enough to pile up the stats of Tony Gonzales or even Antonio Gates, neither could match Gronk’s peak.

But when talking about Gronk, there is so much more than just the way he played the game. Everything he did off the field was special: from the partying and the funny interviews to his larger than life personality. Who will ever forget “Yo soy fiesta”? It’s one of the greatest things ever said in a locker room interview.

What’s even more impressive is that Gronkowski did all this on the Patriots. When he really started to come out of his shell, everyone thought he was going to be booted out of New England. He wasn’t the prototypical Patriot player who kept a low profile. Gronk was his own man, and he was so amazing on the field that Bill Belichick put up with all the antics. The results speak for themselves: the Patriots made it to 5 Super Bowls during the Gronkowski tenure and won 3 of them.

As much as he did for the New England Patriots, his biggest contribution to the planet was the uprising of the number 69. If I had to crunch the numbers, I would assume the amount of 69 jokes per year since 2010 increased by a solid 200%. And in true Rob Gronkowski fashion, he ended his career with an average of .69 touchdowns per game. Some will say it is just a coincidence, others will say it is the work of a greater being. I say it is just the greatest tight end of all time knowing the perfect time to call it a career.

Hopefully  this won't be the last time we see Rob on the gridiron. His agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Get Up crew, "If the team was struggling or they needed him at some point next year, and let's just say hypothetically Tom Brady gave him a call and said 'Rob, I need you,' I wouldn't be shocked if he came back to play a few games."

I know many Patriots fans had this exact thought for years. Save him for the playoffs so he is perfectly healthy. Gronk loves football and I wouldn’t be surprised if he came back for a playoff run to try to add a fourth ring to his collection.

If this is good-bye though, I am glad he was able to go out as a Superbowl champion, who made the most important catch of the game. Thank you for 9 amazing seasons and I hope nothing but the best for you, Mr. Gronkowski.

Betting mastermind. Didn't have the height or talent for sports but I can talk and pick them like a champ.

Twitter: @MatthewSulla