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Rob Gronkowski’s retirement draws sweet message from Tom Brady

Tom Brady reflected on Rob Gronkowski’s career as the tight end announced for the second time he will be retiring from the NFL.

Brady posted a tribute to his longtime teammate on his Instagram account. Together, Brady and Gronkowski won four Super Bowl titles, and the quarterback threw the tight end 84 touchdown passes in the playoffs — the most for any duo in postseason history.

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“Teammate, friend, brother, just a few of the words that come to mind when I think of @gronk. Nobody has ever embodied the idea of ‘leaving it all out on the field’ like Rob has throughout his entire career. Every single snap, I knew that no matter how many people you put in front of him, he was going to get to his spot,” Brady wrote on Instagram.

“Even more important is the person he was off the field. Focused when he had to be, and FUN the rest of the time. Having Gronk in your locker room was every NFL players dream. I’m proud of all that we’ve accomplished together, and even more excited for all you have ahead of you.

“Congrats Gronk, you deserve it.”

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Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots reacts with Tom Brady #12 after catching a touchdown pass during the second quarter of a game against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  

Gronkowski was a second-round pick of the New England Patriots in 2010. In his second season, he led the NFL with 17 touchdown catches and his emergence started to change the way NFL teams utilize tight ends.

He would play in 115 games for the Patriots, catching 521 passes for 7,861 yards and scoring 79 touchdowns. He would call it quits after the 2018 season, citing injury concerns.

However, once Tom Brady ditched the Patriots for the Buccaneers before the 2020 season, it was enough for Gronkowski to come out of retirement to play in Tampa Bay.

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He would help the Buccaneers get to the Super Bowl during that year and would score two touchdowns in the game to give Tampa Bay their second title in franchise history

Last season, Gronkowski only played in 12 games due to an injury, and Tampa Bay didn’t make it to the Super Bowl after winning a division title.

In this Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021 file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87), left, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrate together after the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Tampa, Fla.

He finishes his career with 92 touchdowns and 621 catches for 9,286 yards. His touchdown catches are third-most all-time among tight ends, and his receiving yards is fifth-most all-time among tight ends.

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