Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo
Had Rob Gronkowski’s agent Drew Rosenhaus on @nflnetwork with us. He said he presented Gronk with a plan to speak to the team about sitting out the spring and even into training camp. Believes they could’ve worked out a plan with the #Patriots if Gronk was interested. He wasn’t.
Gronkowski announced his retirement Sunday:
His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did leave open the possibility of an eventual Gronkowski return, however.
"I wouldn't be shocked if Rob is back on the field at some point," he said during that NFL Network interview, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com.
Gronkowski, 29, is a future Pro Football Hall of Famer despite injuries limiting him to 115 NFL games over nine seasons. In that time, he established himself as his generation's top tight end, arguably the most talented tight end of all time and one of the most impossible matchup nightmares for opposing defenses in league history.
The second-round pick out of Arizona finished his career with 521 receptions for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns. He was a five-time Pro Bowler, a four-time first-team All-Pro selection and a three-time Super Bowl champion. His 17 touchdown receptions in the 2011 season was tied for fifth-most in a single season and the most ever compiled by a tight end; he had five seasons with double-digit scores.
He was just as scary in the playoffs, catching 81 passes for 1,163 yards and 12 scores in 16 appearances.
Suffice to say, his legacy is secure:
Charley Casserly @CharleyCasserly
To me Rob Gronkowski is a 1st ballot Hall of Famer He maybe the best TE in the history of the game. He was a dominant blocker & versatile receiver as a TE. He could line up at WR, go in motion, line up at the TE position & be a major mismatch for the def. @patriots @nflnetwork
Tom E. Curran @tomecurran
Rob Gronkowski retired. A surefire Hall of Fame tight end who really never wavered from being the same, simple, "doesn't take much to make me happy" person he was when he danced onstage with his brothers when he was drafted. Fortunate to have covered him. https://t.co/CFlV8Ev45m
Had Gronkowski been able to stay healthier in his prime, it's scary to imagine the type of numbers he might have accumulated. And while he clearly lost a step this past season (47 receptions, 682 yards, three TDs), he still played a huge role for the Patriots in the postseason as they won their sixth title.
If Gronk someday returns to football, it won't be a huge surprise, given his age. But for now, it appears he's perfectly content moving on.