Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announces he’s retiring

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FILE – In this June 7, 2018, file photo, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski catches the ball during an NFL football minicamp practice, in Foxborough, Mass. Gronkowski made a statement this offseason when he skipped the Patriots’ mandatory minicamp and then didn’t hold back in saying he’d like to see his contract redone. […]

FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The New England Patriots will be without tight end Rob Gronkowski at the start of next season.

The all-pro announced his decision to retire over his official Instagram account Sunday. 

In a matter of minutes, the post garnered tens of thousands of likes and comments.

In it, he thanked the Patriots organization, his teamates, fans, Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick.

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Kraft and Belichick both issued statements Sunday night, praising Gronkowski.

“In the nine years that I have known Rob Gronkowski, I have never known him to have a bad day. He always has a youthful exuberance about him and is a joy to be around. As a player, he earned the respect of his coaches and teammates for his hard work, preparation, selfless attitude and the sheer dominance of his game. ‘Gronk’ quickly became a fan favorite and the most dominant player at his position for nearly a decade. I look forward to honoring him in the near future as both a Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer,” Mr. Kraft said.

Gronkowski spent his NFL career with the New England Patriots, a second round pick in the 2010 draft.  He has three Super Bowl Championships with the Patriots.

“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,” Bill Belichick said.

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