Rob Gronkowski is retired. Again. – New York Times

Much to the relief of defensive, endzone and soccer coordinators, and to the dismay of partygoers, keg vendors and content aggregators, Rob Gronkowski announced Tuesday that he is (again) retiring from the NFL. This time he means it.

Gronkovsky revealed his plans on instagram, where he often shares funny details of his fun-loving life, such as the Gronk Beach extravaganza in Las Vegas and clips promoting the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards he hosted in April. Of course he did.

Throughout his 11 seasons in the NFL, the 33-year-old Gronkowski, a very serious football player with a very frivolous personality, left the boring league with his playful destructiveness. His cheerfulness has spawned countless memes, perhaps none of them has been cuter than his “I’m a soy fiesta!” exclamation – cut out Spanish that translates to “I’m a party!” – after playing the playoffs in 2012.

His onomatopoeic surname spawned the perfect nickname for the 6ft 6in, 265lb tight end, as Gronk has entered the lexicon as a noun, verb, and sometimes even an adjective. Had he been prosaically referred to as, say, Herman Weissman, Gronkowski might never have become such a phenomenon as he is. Instead, he radiated gronk, marking touchdowns with gronk spikes. He’s crashed a lot: 92 in the regular season, more than any other player since his debut in 2010, according to the Pro Football Reference, and 15 more in the playoffs.

With huge hands – from thumb to pinky, they are 10¾ inches, almost like a soccer ball – Gronkowski leveled pass rushers, rushed to defense and intercepted passes over full-backs, both an amazing blocker and receiver. Redefining his position, he was named All-Pro four times and was selected to five Pro Bowls.

He has won four Super Bowls. The three arrived with New England, where his body eventually betrayed him and prevented him from making the most of his bang. He tore a ligament in his knee, broke his forearm, injured his back.

All this discomfort prompted him to resign the first time since the 2018 season, before he turned 30. Interregnum – as it should be – he spent in wrestling competitions, promotion of cannabidiol products as painkillers and works for his charitable foundation. But, urged on by his old pal and former Patriots teammate Tom Brady (and Florida’s forgiving climate), Gronkowski joined the pirates in 2020, catching two touchdowns in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl win over Kansas City that season.

“While his accomplishments on the field will undoubtedly earn him a gold jacket and a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a statement, “it is his humble attitude and team approach to the game. that really defined his career.”

Gronkowski will almost certainly be buried in Canton, Ohio five years from now when he first becomes eligible, assuming he actually stays retired this time. It’s not hard to imagine him cutting off the sleeves of Hall’s signature gold jacket to flaunt his toned muscles. Maybe he’ll wear it on his bare chest as an homage to his shirtless jumping during all those Super Bowl championship parades. That would be the most groking thing in the world.