New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement via Instagram on Sunday afternoon.
"It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far," Gronkowski writes. "I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine."
Gronkowski accumulated 461 DYAR in 2011, the best tight end season on record by nearly 100 DYAR. It was one of six seasons in which he finished first or second among tight ends in DYAR. He was also top-ten in DVOA seven times, leading the league in that category twice.
In more conventional stats, Gronkowski had 79 touchdown receptions in his career. That's the most in the league over that span even though he missed 29 games. He is one of 30 players (and the only tight end) to average 60 yards per game and 15 yards per catch in their careers; five of the others only played in the 1987 strike season.