Rob Gronkowski retires as nothing less than a football folk hero

Rob Gronkowski celebrated three Super Bowl championships in a nine-year career, capping it with a victory over the Rams last month.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Patriots tight end didn’t even play a decade, but on and off the field, his was a career like almost no other.

// Star Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announces he is retiring

Gronkowski ended months of speculation on Sunday by announcing his retirement from football after nine seasons and three Super Bowl championships with the Patriots.


// Final playoff run was a perfect ending for a pivotal Patriot

An uneven season ended with Rob Gronkowski showing his every facet on the way to another championship, a final act far better than most.

// Here’s how Tom Brady and other Patriots are reacting to Gronkowski’s retirement

“Love u man!! The [goat]!! Couldn’t be a better person or teammate!!!!”

1-13-18: Foxborough, MA: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is greeted by members of the End Zone Militia as he takes the field for pre game warmups. The New England Patriots hosted the Los Angeles Chargers in an NFL Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium. (Staff Photo/Jim Davis)

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Gronk’s legacy: How does he stack up among the best to ever play tight end?

A look at Gronkowski’s statistics and how they compare to other all-time greats.

More Gronk coverage

3-24-19: Boston, MA: Gordon Hayward (left) and Aron Baynes (center) returned to the lineup for the Celtics tonight, but by the time the last minutes of the game were being contested on the floor, they, along with Kyrie Irving (right) were on the bench as the subs finished up the San Antonio blowout victory. Iriving has taken off the wrap he was wearing on his left hand and tosses it aside with his right, knowing he wil not be re entering the game. The Boston Celtics hosted the San Antonio Spurs in a regular season NBA basketball game at the TD Garden. (Jim Davis /Globe Staff).

On basketball | Gary Washburn

How will the Celtics respond to yet another humiliating loss?

After squandering an 18-point lead in Charlotte Saturday, a listless effort against the Spurs Sunday was indicative of Celtics’ nightmarish season.

Spurs forward DeMar DeRozan sailed over the back of Celtics guard Kyrie Irving in the second quarter.

Spurs 115, Celtics 96

Celtics remain optimistic despite fourth straight loss

The Celtics’ defense was no match for LaMarcus Aldridge, whose 48 points carried the Spurs. But Kyrie Irving said of his team’s struggles: ‘There’s light at the end of all this.’


// Coach Brad Stevens is fine with Kyrie Irving questioning his game plan

Irving was critical of how the Celtics defended Hornets guard Kemba Walker, who torched the team for 18 points in the fourth quarter as Boston blew another big lead in a loss.

Boston, MA - 10/12/2018 - Boston Red Sox right fielder J.D. Martinez (28) waits his turn in the batting cage during today's workout in preparation for Game 1 of the ALCS vs. the Houston Astros at Fenway Park. - (Barry Chin/Globe Staff), Section: Sports, Reporter: Peter Abraham, Topic: 13Red Sox, LOID: 8.4.3455684276.


alex speier

It’s a little house, a man cave, a private lab: Here’s what goes on in the Red Sox’ batting cage

The batting cage has shifted from a place to just get loose to a key part of the Red Sox’ pursuit of victories.


// Johansson skates with Bruins on eve of Tampa test

The deadline acquisition, out since March 5 with a lung contusion, will be a game-time decision on Monday against the Lightning.


Revolution drop another one at home

FC Cincinnati defeated the New England Revolution, 2-0, on Sunday.


// The Robert Kraft saga will loom over the NFL meetings

Folks on Kraft’s enemies list this coming week will have a chance to make him twist in the wind when they are interviewed.

New England Patriot coach Bill Belichick, center, watches Jayson Stanley run a football drill during Georgia Pro Day, Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Amis)



On the road with Bill Belichick: an education in scouting and football

Tuscaloosa, Ala., was the first stop on a trip through SEC country that took Belichick to Athens, Ga., the next day.

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 24: Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates after defeating the UCF Knights in the second round game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Colonial Life Arena on March 24, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

NCAA men’s tournament roundup

Top-seeded Duke narrowly defeats upset-minded Central Florida

Freshman phenom Zion Williamson had 32 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Blue Devils (31-5) to a 77-76 victory.

Connecticut's Katie Lou Samuelson (33) looks to shoot as Buffalo's Hanna Hall (10) defends during the first half of a second-round women's college basketball game in the NCAA tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Jessica Hill/Associated Press

NCAA women’s tournament roundup

UConn women hold off Buffalo to reach Sweet 16 — for 26th consecutive season

Naphessa Collier led the No. 2 Huskies (33-2) to the Albany Regional semifinal with 27 points and 16 rebounds.

Sports Log

// Indians keep Hanley Ramirez, but lose Jose Ramirez

Jose Ramirez bruised his left knee when he fouled a ball off himself, and his status for Opening Day is uncertain.

// Brad Keselowski takes NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville

Brad Keselowski routed the field at Martinsville Speedway to give Team Penske its third Cup victory through the first six races of the NASCAR season.

NCAA Hockey Tournament

// UMass to meet Harvard, Northeastern takes on Cornell in NCAA hockey tournament

It’s the first postseason match for UMass, which was seeded No. 1 in the Northeast Regional, and Harvard.

ncaa hockey notebook

// Wisconsin tops Minnesota in women’s Frozen Four

It was the fifth national championship for the Badgers.

NIT | N.C. State 78, Harvard 77

Harvard men fall short in NIT setback at N.C. State

Rio Haskett’s last-gasp 3-pointer with 3 seconds left pulled the Crimson (19-12) within one, but Harvard was unable to prevail.


// Paul Casey wins Valspar for second straight year

Paul Casey becomes the first back-to-back winner in the 19 years of the Valspar Championship.

Boston, MA - {iptcmtonth}/23/2019 - (3rd period) Boston College Eagles forward Christopher Brown (10) skates away from the Northeastern Huskies celebration as time ran out on the Eagles as they fell 3-2 to Northeastern. Boston College vs. Northeastern University in Hockey East Championship game at TD Garden. - (Barry Chin/Globe Staff), Section: Sports, Reporter: John Powers, Topic: 24Hockey East, LOID: 8.5.742110484.

hockey east championship: Northeastern 3, BC 2

Northeastern wins Hockey East title

Brandon Hawkins scored a pair of goals for the Huskies.

// BC’s Logan Hutsko injured in Hockey East title game

He collided with a Northeastern defender and was taken from the ice on a stretcher.


// Don’t expect NFL to make many rules changes

At the owners meetings, the league will hear several rules proposals aimed at expanding instant replay.

// Robert Kraft says ‘I am truly sorry’ after Florida prostitution charges

The Patriots owner had been quiet about the incident since he was charged last month.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 16: Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after defeating the Florida State Seminoles 73-63 in the championship game of the 2019 Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)


The true March Madness is in the NCAA’s hypocrisy

College sports’ governing body, particularly as it pertains to the revenue sports, is the master of hypocritical behavior.

2019 Baseball Preview


An appreciation of the Red Sox’ dynamic outfielders

Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts are still carving their place in Sox history.

Boston Red Sox rookie sensations Fred Lynn, left, and Jim Rice, in Boston, on Aug. 4, 1975, both outfielders with exceptional hitting ability. It has been 25 years since rookie teammates drove in 100 runs apiece. Lynn and Rice appear sure bets to do it with the Red Sox. Boston manager Darrell Johnson said,


Peter Abraham | 2019 Baseball Preview

‘They’re special kids’: The last great Red Sox outfield on the new great Red Sox outfield

Jim Rice, Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans agree that each star trio have one thing in common: chemistry.

// How and where to watch the Red Sox this season

If you can’t simply turn on your TV to NESN, there are streaming options available.


// Here are some key dates in the 2019 Red Sox schedule

The defending World Series champions begin their season on March 28 against the Seattle Mariners.

Boston, MA - 10/23/2018 - James Taylor sings the National Anthem before Game 1 of the World Series. The Boston Red Sox host the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the World Series at Fenway Park. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)

stan grossfeld/Globe staff

Alex Speier | 2019 Baseball Preview

How the Red Sox outfielders play their positions at Fenway

Space is the primary defining feature of Fenway Park, which features many idiosyncrasies.

Tara Sullivan | 2019 Baseball Preview

// These Red Sox deserve to be confident as they try to repeat. But they should also be wary

The first step in repeating is to forget your accomplishments of the previous season, which took the ’99 Yankess all year to do.

Chad Finn | Sports Media

// Sean McDonough is back where he belongs — calling Red Sox games

It’s been 15 years since McDonough called games as a Red Sox broadcaster.


// A player-by-player breakdown of the Red Sox roster and lineup

A look at who the Sox have and what they have to offer as the club tries to repeat.

Los Angeles, CA: 10-28-18: Manager Alex Cora (left) hoists the trophy as (left to right) David Price, Rick Porcello, Chris Sale and Eduardo Nunez look on while the Red Sox celebrate their World Series victory. The Boston Red Sox visited the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five of the World Series at Dodger Stadium. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

Globe Staff predictions

Here are the Globe staff predictions for the 2019 baseball season

Red Sox are not the staff’s favorites to repeat as World Series champions.

Fort Myers, Fl- Feb 18, 2019-Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff--Red Sox Spring Training at JetBlue Park. Postcard from Spring Training: Mookie Betts is in love. His three month old daughter (cq) Kynlee reported to camp in the late morning, while Betts was taking batting practice. He immediately rushed over and gave her a kiss. “I was a little nervous about her coming here,” he said. “But not too nervous.” The sleep deprived MVP says he is dutifully dealing with “stinky diapers” and has a greater appreciation for his mom and his girlfriend Brianna Hammonds.

file/stan grossfeld/Globe staff

Peter Abraham | 2019 Baseball Preview

Mookie Betts’s style stands out, on and off the field

The MVP right fielder is carefully cultivating his growing celebrity.

Tara Sullivan | 2019 Baseball Preview

// No worries in center field, because Jackie Bradley Jr. is always in position

The even-keeled Bradley, who his first Gold Glove in 2018, is among the best center fielders in the game.

Dan Shaughnessy | 2019 Baseball Preview

// Andrew Benintendi is a noble heir to the monster throne in left

Benintendi, at 24 the youngest of the Sox outfielders, has every tool required to be a perennial All-Star.

Alex Speier | 2019 Baseball Preview

// J.D. Martinez is the designated sitter in the Red Sox outfield

“I can play outfield, Martinez said. “It’s tough with this outfield, obviously.”

Boston, MA - 5/22/1983: Boston Red Sox Wade Boggs sits in the dugout after his team's loss against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park in Boston, May 22, 1983. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff) --- BGPA Reference: 180109_ON_004

file/stan grossfeld/Globe staff

Dan Shaughnessy | 2019 Baseball Preview

What happened to the bad old days of the Red Sox?

Clubhouse culture and team karma have changed for the better since Alex Cora arrived.

FILE - In this March 11, 2019 file photo Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper walks in the dugout before a spring training baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Clearwater, Fla. Harper came to Philadelphia to do the one thing he didn't accomplish in Washington: Win in October. The Phillies gave him the biggest contract in baseball history to deliver. The 26-year-old slugger was a six-time All-Star, 2012 NL Rookie of the Year and 2015 NL Most Valuable Player during seven seasons with the Nationals. But he couldn't help Washington win a postseason series in four tries. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, file)


League-wide story lines to watch this season, plus some superlatives

Despite a down 2018 season, Bryce Harper signed with the Phillies for an unfathomable 13 seasons.

Kevin Paul Dupont

/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/03/05/ More from Dupont

Read his recent “On Second Thought” columns and more features from the longtime Globe writer.