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BOSTON (AP) — The party’s over for Rob Gronkowski.
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Then again White Tedy Bruschi Jerseys , it might just be getting started.The New England Patriots‘ fun-loving, touchdown-spiking tight end announced Sunday that he is retiring from the NFL after nine mostly dominant, Super Bowl-filled seasons.The four-time All-Pro posted his decision on Instagram , saying that a few months shy of his 30th birthday “it’s time to move forward and move forward with a big smile.”“It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far,” Gronkowski wrote in his post. “I will be retiring from the game of football today.”Drew Rosenhaus, Gronkowski’s agent, confirmed his client’s decision to retire.The playmaking tight end, who turns 30 in May, leaves as a three-time Super Bowl champion who established himself as one of the most dominant players at his position and one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets. His personality — on and off the field — was as big as his biceps, and he always seemed to be the life of the party.“In the nine years that I have known Rob Gronkowski, I have never known him to have a bad day,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. “He always has a youthful exuberance about him and is a joy to be around.But Gronkowski has been dogged in recent seasons by back, knee, ankle and arm injuries that have limited his ability to stay on the field.It led him to hint at retirement following New England’s Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles to end the 2017 season and again last month after the Patriots’ Super Bowl win over the Los Angeles Rams.In his Instagram post, Gronkowski thanked the Patriots organization Tedy Bruschi Jerseys 2019 , coach Bill Belichick and New England’s fans for their support during his nine NFL seasons.“Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be,” Gronkowski wrote.Belichick said Gronkowski was a major reason the Patriots won championships.“His production spoke for itself, but his daily attitude, unmistakably positive energy wherever he went and toward whoever he touched will never be forgotten,” Belichick said in a statement.Gronkowski’s teammates also almost immediately began to flood social media with well-wishes.“Love you man!!” Brady wrote on Instagram, along with an emoji of a goat to refer to Gronkowski as the greatest of all-time. “Couldn’t be a better person or teammate!!!!”It was a sentiment shared by receiver Julian Edelman.“The other goat,” Edelman posted on his Instagram page, also referring to Brady.Though he won’t have the longevity of some of his contemporaries at tight end, Gronkowski is expected to get strong consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame when eligible.Gronkowski, a second-round pick in the 2010 draft, had his fourth career 1,000-yard receiving season in 2017 and was an All-Pro for the fourth time that season.But at times he looked like a shell of himself during the Patriots’ Super Bowl run this past season. Gronkowski finished the 2018 regular season with just 47 catches for 682 yards and three touchdowns.He had one of his best games of the season in the Patriots’ Super Bowl win over the Rams, hauling in six catches for 87 yards, including two receptions on New England’s only touchdown drive during their 13-3 victory.A fan favorite in New England for his gregarious and playful persona that included awkward dance moves and touchdown celebrations, Gronkowski was one of the most dominant tight ends of his era.His 12 career postseason touchdown receptions are the most by a tight end in NFL playoff history. His 81 career postseason catches are also best among tight ends.He’ll also retire with 79 career TD catches — regular season and playoffs — which is third all-time by a tight end behind only Antonio Gates (116) and Tony Gonzalez (111).Brady and Gronkowski connected on 78 TD passes. It is the second-most scoring connections between a quarterback and a tight end in NFL history behind only Philip Rivers and Gates (89) and is fifth overall between quarterbacks and all pass-catchers.“Rob will leave an indelible mark on the Patriots organization and the game,” Brady said White Andre Tippett Jerseys , “as among the best, most complete players at his position to ever play.” Julian Edelman enters Sunday’s 1 p.m. ET kickoff at Nissan Stadium ranked second on the New England Patriots in receptions.Edelman is slotted there, behind only running back James White, despite missing all of 2017 due to a torn ACL, and despite missing the first four weeks of 2018 for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.It’s been much of what it was since the 32-year-old made his return on Oct. 4 against the Indianapolis Colts.And that hasn’t been lost on the quarterback throwing him the football heading into a meeting with the Tennessee Titans.“Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely,” Tom Brady told reporters during his press conference Friday afternoon. “I mean, Julian’s been such a great player for our team. I think his mental and physical toughness are just unmatched in a lot of ways. I have so much confidence in him.”That confidence has given way to Edelman drawing 44 targets from Brady over New England’s last five games. Just White, with 51, has drawn more in New England’s passing game over that span.BRADY-TO-EDELMAN PASSING LOGWeek 5 vs. Indianapolis: 7-of-9 for 57 yardsWeek 6 vs. Kansas City: 4-of-7 for 54 yards, touchdownWeek 7 vs. Chicago: 5-of-8 for 36 yards, touchdownWeek 8 vs. Buffalo: 9-of-10 for 104 yardsWeek 9 vs. Green Bay: 6-of-10 for 71 yardsThe byproduct has been 31 completions for 311 yards, 17 first downs and a pair of touchdowns.That puts Edelman on pace to finish his abbreviated 2018 having accounted for 74 completions, 746 yards, 40 first touchdowns and a handful of touchdowns by way of his teammate of nine seasons.“He really does all the dirty work for us,” said Brady. “He’s so scrappy Andre Tippett Jerseys 2019 , goes in there and blocks hard, catches balls over the middle. We put him in a lot of different positions, and he always seems to come through for us. So, battling what he’s really had to battle and come back from is impressive in itself.”More than 600 days had passed since Edelman last appeared in game where the final score mattered. More than 400 days had passed since his preseason jump and non-contact fall at Ford Field.More than 30 days would be tacked on.But Edelman has now been in for more than half of New England’s offensive snaps this season in just over half of the 7-2 sample size.“He’s extremely tough, he’s been very durable playing-wise, outside of his ACL and a couple other little things,” Brady said. “But he’s been out there a lot for us, and again, we have a lot of confidence in him as a player.”Edelman has handled five rushes for 48 yards and returned five punts for 23 yards, as well. And last Sunday night at Gillette Stadium, he picked up another 37 yards with his arm on a screening double-pass to White in the fourth quarter of a tie game against the Green Bay Packers.No discernible changes in usage there.“There’s a lot of guys that go through those injuries and don’t come back the same,” added Brady, whose 2008 season ended after 11 pass attempts. “And Julian, to me, looks the same as he’s always looked.”
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