Is Gronk already the greatest tight end of all-time?

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski pulls in a touchdown reception in front of New Orleans Saints linebacker Alex Anzalone (47) in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Rob Gronkowski pulls in a touchdown reception in front of linebacker Alex Anzalone in the first half of a game in New Orleans. –AP Photo/Butch Dill

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Not to get too grim, but these things come to mind every time he gets hurt. So where do you think Gronk would rate among all-time tight ends if he retired tomorrow? He’s the best I’ve ever seen, but has he played long enough to be considered the best? – Brian M.

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There’s never been anyone with a higher peak. No one close, really. He’s basically played his whole career like Mark Bavaro at his brief pinnacle, but with better speed. There is no doubt Gronk, at his best, is the best tight end I’ve ever seen.

But will he be considered as such nationally? He needs a few more healthy seasons.

Tony Gonzalez wasn’t the physical presence Gronk is, but he had an extraordinary career. He’s second all-time in receptions (1,325 in 17 seasons) behind only Jerry Rice. (Shockingly, Jason Witten is fourth.) Gronk is currently 215th on the list with 413 – two more than Martellus Bennett and the iconic Reggie Langhorne. Heck, he still trails Ben Watson (442).

Antonio Gates passed Gonzalez just this past weekend in the category of receiving TDs by a tight end with 112. Gronk, you may have heard, has 69. Gates actually may be within reach if Gronk can stay reasonably healthy. Eight seasons into his career, he still has some compiling to do.

I think you have to say Gonzalez is the greatest ever to play, even though at his best he wasn’t as dynamic as peak Gronk. But what do you guys think? Is Gronk already the best tight end of all-time? I’ll hear you in the comments.

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