Rob Gronkowski announced his second NFL retirement on Tuesday.
It's bittersweet news for Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans hoping the tight end would re-sign for one last ride alongside longtime teammate Tom Brady. However, the 33-year-old said in a statement posted on Twitter that he's "walking away from football again with my head held high."
Following his decision, the Buccaneers showed their appreciation to Gronkowski.
General manager Jason Licht also thanked Gronkowski, who tallied 100 receptions for 1,425 yards and 13 touchdowns during two seasons with the Buccaneers.
"Rob is a true professional who left it all on the field for us the past two seasons and helped establish a championship culture in our building," Licht said. "He played a crucial part in our Super Bowl LV championship season in 2020 and battled through a number of injuries last year while on the way to one of the most productive receiving yardage seasons in his 11-year career.
"It is always difficult to see a great player walk away from the game when he is still enjoying that kind of success, but the overwhelming emotions I feel today are gratitude and respect for one of the greatest tight ends who ever played the game."
Tampa Bay can hold out hope for another return, as agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN's Adam Schefter that he "wouldn’t be surprised if Rob comes back during the season or next season."
For now, Brady will focus on entering 2022 without his trustworthy end-zone target while Gronkowski once again navigates retirement.