Gronkowski retires after 9 seasons
Jamie Squire / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Gronk is officially calling it a career.

Fresh off his third Super Bowl title in his nine years with the New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement in an Instagram post on Sunday.

"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. "I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010.

"... To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be a part of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of what's next."

A sure-fire Hall of Famer, Gronkowski walks away from football as one of the most dominant tight ends the game has ever seen.

The 2010 second-round pick earned five Pro Bowl appearances and four All-Pro nods over an incredibly successful run in New England, where his rare combination of pass-catching prowess and in-line blocking made him one of the more critical pieces to the Patriots' dynasty.

"Rob's impact on our team and organization was felt in many ways," head coach Bill Belichick said in a statement. "In the ultimate team sport, Rob was a great, great teammate. His production spoke for itself, but his daily attitude, unmistakably positive energy wherever he went and toward whoever he touched will never be forgotten. Rob will leave an indelible mark on the Patriots organization and the game as among the best, most complete players at his position to ever play."

Despite his career not lasting as long as some expected, likely impacted by a slew of injuries in the latter stages, Gronkowski's 79 career touchdowns put him in a tie for third behind only Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates all time among tight ends.

That total, along with his 521 receptions and 7,861 yards, gives him a clean sweep for tops among Patriots' receiving categories since he was drafted.

Gronkowski retires after 9 seasons
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