Warsaw, Poland – Polish-American NFL superstar Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement on Instagram over the weekend. “America’s most Athletic Polish” according to Family Guy‘s Peter Griffin, the 29-year-old New England Patriots tight end won three Super Bowls alongside quarterback Tom Brady during his nine-year career.
“It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true,” he wrote on the social media post, “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. I will be retiring from the game of football today.”
A four-time First Team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection, the Patriots’ delightfully gooberish and uniquely gifted tight end, caught 521 passes for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns in 115 games from 2010 to 2018. Known for his larger-than-life personality, on and off the field, the 29-year-old, who famously stated that partying has made him a better player, is regarded by many sports analysts, writers, and peers as not only one of football’s finest players but the greatest tight end to ever play the game.
For ESPN, it feels “like the tight end position was invented in response to his rare gifts, the singular marriage of power and grace he brought to the game”.
“Gronk is a one of a kind person, player and friend. He is one of the most positive people I have ever been around and he loves to have fun. What you see is what you get and whether he is dancing, singing, laughing, or spiking, he is true to himself,” said Tom Brady about his teammate in 2015.
Highly regarded among the Polish-American community and often described as “probably the most beloved guy in the NFL”, Gronk was named Am-Pol Eagle Citizen of the Year in 2010 by by the weekly Polish American newspaper the Am-Pol Eagle.
His four brothers – Gordie, Dan, Chris and Glenn – all played professionally as well. Gordon Gronkowski Sr., their father and patriarch of what Vanity Fair called “America’s First Family of Jocks”, was a good athlete himself, having played football at West Seneca West as well as Syracuse University.
“My goal was always to get all my kids through college with an athletic scholarship,” Gordon Sr. told Vanity Fair. “I’d tell them, ‘Hey, school’s first no matter what. Get educated, and then the sports.’ That’s a deadly combination.”
He famously used his own experiences, both positive and negative, to guide the athletic careers of his sons. By “capitalizing on their natural sibling competitiveness” and creating a carefully monitored training regimen in their impressive home gym, “he helped each of his sons take charge of his own athletic destiny”.
His own grandfather, and Rob’s geat-grandfather, Ignatius J. Gronkowski was an outstanding cyclist in the 1920s who held five world records and competed for the U.S. in the 1924 Paris Olympics, which featured in the 1981 movie “Chariots of Fire”.