Rob Gronkowski on Tom Brady's Retirement: 'You're a Legend and You Always Will Be'February 1, 2023
If anyone knows what it is like to play for the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers during an NFL career that includes two retirements, it is Rob Gronkowski.
And, now, Tom Brady.
After the legendary quarterback announced his retirement with a video message Wednesday, Gronkowski welcomed him to the two-time retirement club and said, "You're a legend and you always will be, my friend."
Rob Gronkowski @RobGronkowski
Tommy, since I already wrote you a long retirement message last year, this time I shall say, welcome to the 2x retired club. <br><br>You're a legend and you always will be, my friend ♥️🏉 <a href="https://twitter.com/TomBrady?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TomBrady</a> <a href="https://t.co/88oWYvQtdo">pic.twitter.com/88oWYvQtdo</a>
Gronkowski caught passes from Brady on the Patriots from 2010 through 2018 and then retired for the 2019 season. Even at that time, he was one of the best tight ends in NFL history with a resume that included five Super Bowl appearances, three Lombardi Trophies, five Pro Bowl selections and four All-Pro nods.
However, he decided to come out of retirement for the 2020 and 2021 campaigns and play with Brady in Tampa Bay, and the pair added another Super Bowl trophy to their legacies.
Brady seemed ready to call it quits when he retired after the 2021 season as well, but he changed his mind and returned for one more year. That made it all the more notable when he said the latest retirement is "for good" in Wednesday's message.
While Brady is widely considered the greatest quarterback of all time, his career merits inclusion in any discussion of the most accomplished athletes in history as well.
He won seven Super Bowls, five Super Bowl MVPs, three league MVPs and two Offensive Player of the Year awards. He was selected to 15 Pro Bowls, led the league in passing yards four times and passing touchdowns five times, and maintained a level of excellence across 23 seasons that may never be matched.
Brady's final year in the NFL didn't go as he surely hoped, as the Buccaneers went 8-9 and lost to the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs.
But that season will also be a distant memory in a career that was filled with some of the most iconic moments in NFL history and a seemingly never-ending list of accomplishments.
Gronkowski was there for plenty of them, and the pair will always be linked together as one of the best one-two punches to ever take the field.