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Gronk Officially Retires. Thoughts and Prayers to All Pats Fans Everywhere at This Difficult Time

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The tributes and career retrospectives will come later. Now is all about the shock of this announcement and letting it sink in. And I’m not even sure “shock” is the right word since this has felt like a 50/50 proposition since Gronk walked off the Super Bowl LIII in triumph. As a matter of fact, I sat down about 20 times to have his very post ready to go when he did finally make his retirement official. But as the weeks went on without an announcement, the needle seemed to be tipping more toward at least one more season.

That said, in so many ways this makes perfect sense. Yes, he’s not yet 30. But his body has taken so much punishment it’s way older in NFL years. The league has applied a different set of rules to players defending him as opposed to every other offensive weapon in the game. He began to break down. He was a high performance, precision-engineered piece of machinery that had parts flying off of it and spending way too much time in the shop. It was ultimately too much to ask that he do it another season.

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In fact, shock aside, it seemed almost inevitable once he made this play in the Super Bowl:

That was a championship winning play that gave him the chance to end his career with an exclamation point. And it made no sense to come back and risk ending with with a question mark. And this ultimately is the bang that he goes out on. The greatest every to play his position. He just wasn’t able to play it long enough. And whether you’re a Patriots fan or not, we’ll all be poorer without having him on a football field.