Sports · June 22, 2022

Rob Gronkowski retired. Yet. – The New York Times

Much to the relief of defensive, end zone and football coordinators – and to the dismay of party boats, drum suppliers and content aggregators – Rob Gronkowski announced Tuesday that he would (again) retire from the NFL This time, on the serious.

Gronkowski revealed his plans on Instagram, where he often shares upbeat tidbits from his merry life, such as the Gronk Beach extravaganza in Las Vegas and clips promoting the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, which he co-hosted in April. Of course he did.

During his 11 NFL seasons, 33-year-old Gronkowski, a very serious football player with a very non-serious personality, left the heavy league with a kind of playful destructiveness. His joie de vivre has spawned countless memes, perhaps none more final than his “Yo soy fiesta!” exclamation – massacred Spanish which translates to “I’m partying!” – after a playoff match in 2012.

His onomatopoeic surname became the perfect nickname for a tight end of 6 feet-6 and 265 pounds, as Gronk joined the lexicon as a noun, verb, and sometimes even an adjective. Had he been prosaically called, say, Herman Weissman, Gronkowski may never have arisen as the phenomenon he did. Instead, he oozed gronk, celebrating touchdowns by grumbling Gronk’s strikers. He has played a lot: 92 in the regular season, more than any other player since he debuted in 2010, according to Pro Football Reference, and 15 more in the postseason.

Equipped with huge hands – thumb to little finger, measuring 10¾ inches, almost the size of a soccer ball – Gronkowski leveled passersby, pressed safety, and grabbed passes on cornerbacks, wonderful as both a blocker and a receiver. Redefining his stance, he has been named All-Pro four times and has been selected for five Pro Bowls.

He has won four Super Bowls. Three came with New England, where his body eventually betrayed him and kept him from grumbling to the max. He tore a ligament in his knee, broke his forearm, hurt his back.

All that discomfort prompted him to retire, the first time, after the 2018 season, before turning 30. He spent the interregnum – as planned – at wrestling events, promoting cannabidiol products as pain relievers and working on his own charitable foundation. But, pushed by his old friend and former Patriots teammate Tom Brady (and Florida’s mild climate), Gronkowski joined the Buccaneers in 2020, scoring two touchdowns in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl win over Kansas City that season. .

“While his achievements on the pitch will certainly earn him a gold jacket and a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a statement, “it’s his humble attitude and his team approach to the game that really defined his career ”.

Gronkowski will almost certainly be consecrated in Canton, Ohio, five years from now, when he is first eligible, assuming he truly remains retired this time. It’s not hard to imagine that he took off the sleeves of Hall’s signature gold jacket to show off his bulging muscles. Maybe he’ll wear it shirtless, a tribute to his hopping back flips during all those Super Bowl championship saves. It would be the gronky thing ever.