Woodland Hills alum and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL for a second time in a Tuesday.
Gronkowsi, 33, played 11 NFL seasons with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and won four Super Bowl rings. He first retired after winning Super Bowl LIII with the Patriots after the 2018 season, but returned for two more seasons with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay won another title after the 2020 season.
“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 said in an 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. The friendships and relationships I have made will last forever, and I appreciate every single one of my teammates and coaches for giving everything they had as well. From retirement, back to football and winning another championship and now back to chilling out, thank you to all.”
A Buffalo-area native, Gronkowsi moved to Churchill and played his senior season at Woodland Hills after initially being ruled ineligible. Woodland Hills lost in the second round of the 2006 WPIAL playoffs to North Allegheny, after which Gronkowski graduated and moved on to play collegiately at Arizona.
He played just two seasons with the Wildcats. Gronkowski was an All-American as a sophomore in 2008, but missed 2009 with a back injury. He was selected by the Patriots with the No. 42 overall pick in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
He quickly became a trusted target of Brady’s and recorded at least 500 receiving yards in each of his 11 seasons. In 2011, Gronkowksi led the NFL in touchdowns, and was selected as a Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career. He finished his career as a four-time first-team All Pro and a five-time Bowler.
Gronkowski won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2014 after returning from a torn ACL and MCL in 2013. He scored a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIX, his first of four championships.
Another injury forced held him to eight games in 2016 and was a contributing factor to his first retirement at age 30 in 2019. But a rejuvenated Gronkowksi was still a force for Tampa Bay upon his return and trade there. His 802 receiving yards was seventh among NFL tight ends, despite playing only 12 games.
He finishes his career with 621 catches for 9,286 yards and 92 touchdowns. He holds the NFL records for receiving (17) and total (18) touchdowns in a season by a tight end, career touchdowns in the postseason by a tight end (15) and 100-yard games by a tight end (100). He was a member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team and the league’s 100th Anniversary All-Time Team and will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2027.
In seven career games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he had 41 catches for 685 yards and eight touchdowns, the most of any non-AFC East opponent. Tampa Bay is scheduled to visit Pittsburgh in Week 6.