‘There’s no doubt I love New England’: Rob Gronkowski explains not mentioning Patriots in retirement announcement

"I think it’s a little blown out of proportion."

Rob Gronkowski
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski waves to fans after an NFL football game. AP Photo/Danny Karnik, File

Former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement last month in a post that didn’t include his former team.

Gronkowski posted a lengthy message on Instagram, thanking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization, where he won a Super Bowl in 2021.

“I want to thank the whole entire first class Buccaneers organization for an amazing ride, trusting me to come back to play and help build a championship team,” Gronkowski wrote in the Instagram post. “I will now be going back into my retirement home, walking away from football again with my head held high knowing I gave it everything I had, good or bad, every time I stepped out on the field. …


“Cheers to what’s next, maybe sailing the seas. Arghhhhhh!!”

Patriots fans, of course, felt slighted that Gronkowski didn’t mention them. But Gronkowski, who spoke to reporters on Wednesday, says the entire situation isn’t a big deal.

“I think it’s a little blown out of proportion,” Gronkowski said, per NESN. “I mean, I kind of did it when, you know, my first retirement. …

“There’s no doubt I love New England. I love all the fans here in New England. There’s no doubt. But I felt like that speech or whatever, the time and place I did for the first one was great, and I was just kind of giving it for that retirement for the two years I had in Tampa. But I think it was blown out of proportion maybe a little. But I love New England, love everything about it.”

When Gronkowski retired (for the second time), many fans wondered whether he might return again if his long-time friend and teammate Tom Brady came calling. Gronkowski, however, says he is completely done playing.

“I would answer obviously,” Gronkowski told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “I would obviously answer the greatest quarterback of all time and ask him how he’s doing and tell him I’m doing good, but I wouldn’t go back to football.” 


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