New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski announced on Instagram Sunday that he's retiring from the league. “I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. [Robert] Kraft and Coach [Bill] Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010,” Gronk captioned a photo of himself holding the Lombardi trophy. “My life experiences over the last nine years have been amazing both on and off the field…Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been a part of this 1st class organization. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be.” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reacted to the announcement by posting a photo of himself and Gronk on his own Instagram account. “What an honor and privilege to play with you these past nine years @gronk!” he wrote. “You accomplished so much and our team was almost unbeatable when you were on the field!” Coach Bill Belichick also told ESPN on Sunday that it was a "pleasure and a privilege to coach" Gronkowski and credited him as a major reason the Patriots won championships. Gronkowski was selected by the Patriots in round two of the 2010 NFL draft and had 10 or more touchdown receptions in five of his seasons since--the most by a tight end in NFL history.
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