Boston Pours One Out for Rob Gronkowski Following News of his Retirement

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New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) looks on from the sideline after an argument with Buffalo Bills players during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Pats fans are going to have to find a new target for their cans of Bud Light soon, as Rob Gronkowski announced Sunday that he’s retiring from the NFL.

Boston’s favorite partier shared his decision in an Instagram post, calling it the “biggest” of his life so far. Gronk thanked Robert Kraft and the Patriots, of course, but also the masses of Pats Nation, and most importantly, “everyone” for accepting him for who he is. Gronk, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, 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. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart 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. But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

Immediately after word got out, the tight end, 29, was flooded with messages of gratitude, luck, and a lot of silly photos.

this will always and forever be my favorite photo of Gronk.

— abdul (@Advil) March 25, 2019

There were well wishes from teammates past and present.

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What an honor and privilege to play with you these past nine years @gronk! You accomplished so much and our team was almost unbeatable when you were on the field! Your fun-loving, inspiring, and positive energy made an impact on everybody you came into contact with! Not just that, but for as great as a player you are, you are a better teammate and person. The NFL was a better place with you in it! But I have no doubt you will be a success in anything you do!!! Love you pal!

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

Who is the youngest dude ever to get inducted in the HOF because Gronk shouldn’t wait long.

— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) March 25, 2019

His career was remembered fondly and with a healthy dose of awe by those who got to cover him—many of whom have no reservations about calling him a  future Hall of Famer.

I’ll never understand people who try to discredit Gronk. Watch the game. He’s one of the most dominant pass catchers to play in the NFL. To even argue about his HOF candidacy is laughable.

— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) March 25, 2019

Been watching Gronk spikes all night and this might be my favorite one. Maniacal laugh at this dude that actually thought he would stop him in single coverage. Classic

— Steve Perrault (@Steve_Perrault) March 25, 2019

Sorry to see Gronk to retire. Went to my high school. See you in hall of fame

— John Clayton (@JohnClaytonNFL) March 25, 2019

 Unfortunately for heartbroken fans having a hard time getting through the “acceptance” stage of grief, Gronk’s announcement conspicuously avoids the topic of a potential return. However, according to Bleacher Report, his long-time agent Drew Rosenhaus wouldn’t be surprised if his client came back to the game in 2019. Rule number one when leaving a party early—you can always come back, right?

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