There is absolutely no question Gronk, a three-time Super Bowl champion, will go down as the greatest tight end in NFL history, as well as a top 10 all-time Patriot and one of the most marketable players the world of sports has ever seen.
There were injury concerns surrounding him when New England drafted him in 2010, but when Gronk was on the field, there was no stopping him. The future first-ballot hall of famer finishes his career with 521 receptions for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns.
In just his first season, he caught 10 touchdown passes on 59 targets and then caught 17 the following season.
And while there are no shortage of incredible Gronk moments, he saved some of his best for last. In the AFC title game against Kansas City, Gronk made two critical catches - one on the Patriots' go-ahead drive with under a minute in the fourth quarter and then again in overtime on the game-winning drive. He also made one of the biggest offensive plays of Super Bowl LIII when he hauled in a pass from Tom Brady to set New England up at the two yard line. On the next play, Sony Michel scored the only touchdown of the game, a 13-3 Patriots triumph over the Los Angeles Rams.
As the 2018-2019 season went on, it was clear Gronk was not the same player from an offensive production standpoint. However, as the Patriots evolved into a run-first football team, Gronk's ability to block was still very much there. He would often be used as an extra tight end in running situations and was almost exclusively that for stretches of the year.
Even though he is now done with football, the Gronkowski brand will still thrive. It's been rumored that he could get into acting or make a career out of pro wrestling (although I don't know why he'd want to go from the NFL to the WWE, but that's just me).
As a fan, it obviously sucks to see him go, but I absolutely don't blame him for walking away now. At some point, you've got to consider your long-term health. It was clear his body was breaking down on him and he is a month and a half removed from his third title, so why not go out on top? But I, as well as every other Pats fan who had the pleasure to watch him over the years, will always be grateful for all the memories he gave us.