Rob Gronkowski
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Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement on Sunday evening. Thus, one of the New York Jets’ most recurring nightmares has finally ended.

Geoff Magliocchetti

Rob Gronkowski has cratered his final NFL spike.

The tight end announced his retirement on Sunday evening, doing so in an Instagram post.

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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.

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The career of the tight end known as “Gronk” officially ends with 521 receptions, 7,861 yards, 79 touchdowns, three Super Bowl rings, and countless nightmares for opposing coaches and fans across the AFC East.

The New York Jets were one of the team most often victimized by Gronkowski’s on-field exploits. Guaranteed two matchups against his unrelenting New England Patriots, the Jets played witness to 65 Gronkowski receptions for 818 yards and nine touchdowns. The Patriots would go on to win 12 of the 16 meetings that Gronkowski took part in.

These four Gronkowski-induced horrors will particularly sting for Jets fans …

10/20/13: Did You Miss Me?

Even in defeat, Gronkowski managed to make his impact against the Jets.

In New England’s 2013 visit to MetLife, the Jets prevailed in overtime by a 30-27 final. It might’ve never gotten to the extra session if not for the efforts of Gronkowski, who was partaking in his first game of the season. He had undergone back surgery four months before, but showed no ill effects, earning 104 yards on eight receptions. His last catch of the afternoon was a 22-yard grab in the penultimate minute of regulation, getting the Patriots in Jets territory to set up Stephen Gostkowski‘s tying field goal.

10/25/15: Quite the Catch

Gronkowski’s name appears all throughout the tight end chapters of the NFL record book. His personal best in terms of receptions came against the Jets in a 2015 showdown. A career-high 11 receptions came in a crucial October showdown, preserving an undefeated New England mark against the 4-1 Jets. It was the only time in Gronkowski’s regular season career he reached double figures in receptions.

The final Gronkowski reception turned out to be the deadliest. With the Jets trying to keep the score at a single possession, Gronkowski earned the finisher. A 15-yard scoring reception made it a 30-20 New England, rendering null a Nick Folk field goal and recovered onside kick in the final minute.

This sealer might’ve been the turning point in a hopeful season. Entering the game 4-1, the Jets lost four of their next five, necessitating a futile playoff push in the season’s final stanzas.

10/15/17: Two from Tom

Gronkowski ends his career with three multi-touchdown games against the Jets, the last coming in the 2017 trek to New Jersey.

The outmanned Jets surprisingly kept pace with the Patriots, even taking a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Brady turned to his trusty tight end for both the equalizing and go-ahead scores in what became a 24-17 Patriots’ victory.

The game would become far better known for an egregiously absurd replay review, but Gronkowski’s contributions to yet another Patriots win made sure it didn’t all come down to a single call.

Rob Gronkowski Morris Claiborne
(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

11/25/18: A Patriots Parting Gift

Leading into his final visit to East Rutherford, Gronkowski graced the cover of the New York Daily News. It was a source of Patriots parody, however, as he was edited into a New England-inspired Weekend at Bernie’s spoof. Lampooning the iconic poster for the 1989 comedy, in which a pair of buddies convince the public their deceased boss is still alive, Gronkowski appears at the titular dead Bernie, his body propped by Brady and Belichick.

Gronkowski turned the comedy into a zombie horror story.

His final Meadowlands box score was relatively pedestrian (three receptions on seven targets for 56 yards) and things got off to a scary start. In the early going, a Gronkowski drop on third down, brought upon by a big Jamal Adams hit, led to a Patriots punt. But Gronkowski got his revenge later on. On a strike down the middle of the field, he scored from 34 yards out, erasing an early Jets lead.

It wound up the turning in yet another New England victory. The Jets briefly retook the lead, but the Patriots offense opened up after Gronkowski’s final touchdown against the Jets, leading to a 27-13 win.