Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL. Where does he stand among the greatest tight ends in the history of the sport? (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski may just go down as the most dominant tight end in the history of the NFL. Gronk has four different 1,000 yard receiving seasons but injuries ultimately cut his career short. Gronk really has been reduced to a blocking tight end but will go out on top as a champion.

Gronk announced his retirement on Instagram:

“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.”

When you thinking of the greatest tight ends ever, Gronk has to make your top 5. Outside of Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez, nobody came close to what Gronk was able to do. When healthy, Gronk was a monster. His 17 touchdown season in 2011 will go down as one of the best fantasy seasons ever.

The Patriots now really need a tight end. I have New England taking Irv Smith out of Alabama in my mock draft. That should be a good fit. Right now, Matt LaCoasse is the starter on the roster.