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Photos: A look at Rob Gronkowski’s career in New England

(Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

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After nine seasons in the NFL, tight end Rob Gronkowski called it quits, announcing his retirement Saturday. The five-time Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl champion played his entire career with the New England Patriots, selected in the second round of the 2010 draft and ultimately playing 131 total games for Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft.

Gronkowski, a fan favorite for his play and his fun-loving approach to life, created many lasting images for Patriots loyalists. Here are some of those images.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell greeted Gronkowski at the NFL Draft after the tight end was selected with the 42nd overall pick in 2010.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell greeted Gronkowski at the NFL Draft after the tight end was selected with the 42nd overall pick in 2010.(Jason Decrow/Associated Press/File)
It came in a preseason game, but on Aug. 26, 2010, Gronkowski caught his first touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady. He had to shed Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis to make it to the end zone on a simple 14-yard play.
It came in a preseason game, but on Aug. 26, 2010, Gronkowski caught his first touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady. He had to shed Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis to make it to the end zone on a simple 14-yard play.(Jim Davis/Globe Staff/File)
Brady and Gronkowski joked on the sidelines after connecting for their third touchdown pass in a 39-26 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010. It was the first time, but not the last, that Gronkowski, who ended his career as the NFL’s all-time touchdown catch leader among tight ends, would catch three touchdown passes from Brady in a single game.
Brady and Gronkowski joked on the sidelines after connecting for their third touchdown pass in a 39-26 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010. It was the first time, but not the last, that Gronkowski, who ended his career as the NFL’s all-time touchdown catch leader among tight ends, would catch three touchdown passes from Brady in a single game.(Jim Davis/Globe Staff/File)
This flipping, tumbling touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011 was among Gronkowski’s career highlights and came in the midst of one of the best seasons ever by a tight end. This touchdown catch was Gronkowski’s 10th of the season — he would end with 17, to go with 1,327 yards, on 90 receptions.
This flipping, tumbling touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011 was among Gronkowski’s career highlights and came in the midst of one of the best seasons ever by a tight end. This touchdown catch was Gronkowski’s 10th of the season — he would end with 17, to go with 1,327 yards, on 90 receptions.(Jim Davis/Globe Staff/File)
“His elite combination of size, skill, intelligence, toughness, and ability to perform in pressure situations set him apart,’’ Bill Belichick (helping Gronkowski up during a game against the Jets in 2011) in a statement following the tight end’s retirement. “Rob will leave an indelible mark on the Patriots organization and the game as among the best, most complete players at his position to ever play.”
“His elite combination of size, skill, intelligence, toughness, and ability to perform in pressure situations set him apart,’’ Bill Belichick (helping Gronkowski up during a game against the Jets in 2011) in a statement following the tight end’s retirement. “Rob will leave an indelible mark on the Patriots organization and the game as among the best, most complete players at his position to ever play.”(Jim Davis/Globe Staff/File)
Gronkowski couldn’t catch Tom Brady’s hail mary pass to end Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. Gronkowski went on to play in four Super Bowls with the Patriots.
Gronkowski couldn’t catch Tom Brady’s hail mary pass to end Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. Gronkowski went on to play in four Super Bowls with the Patriots.(The Boston Globe)
Gronkowski performed his trademark spike celebration after catching a touchdown during a win over the Colts in 2012. The tight end broke his left forearm near the end of the 59-24 win, which eventually led to one of Gronkowski’s other trademarks — the bulky arm brace and pad he wore following the injury.
Gronkowski performed his trademark spike celebration after catching a touchdown during a win over the Colts in 2012. The tight end broke his left forearm near the end of the 59-24 win, which eventually led to one of Gronkowski’s other trademarks — the bulky arm brace and pad he wore following the injury.(Jim Davis/Globe Staff/File)
In addition to his broken arm, Gronkowski battled numerous injuries, including the ACL tear he suffered on this tackle by Cleveland’s T.J. Ward in 2013.
In addition to his broken arm, Gronkowski battled numerous injuries, including the ACL tear he suffered on this tackle by Cleveland’s T.J. Ward in 2013. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff/File)
Gronkowski ended his fifth season with his first Lombardi Trophy and the league’s comeback player of the year award for his return from his various injuries. The tight end caught six passes for 68 yards and a touchdown from Tom Brady in New England’s 28-24 win over Seattle.
Gronkowski ended his fifth season with his first Lombardi Trophy and the league’s comeback player of the year award for his return from his various injuries. The tight end caught six passes for 68 yards and a touchdown from Tom Brady in New England’s 28-24 win over Seattle.(Jim Davis/Globe Staff/File 2015)
Despite a slew of tough catches from Gronkowski, the Patriots couldn’t return to the Super Bowl the following season, falling to the Broncos in the AFC Championship. Gronkowski had eight receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown in the 20-18 New England loss.
Despite a slew of tough catches from Gronkowski, the Patriots couldn’t return to the Super Bowl the following season, falling to the Broncos in the AFC Championship. Gronkowski had eight receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown in the 20-18 New England loss.(Barry Chin/Globe Staff/File)
Gronkowski seemed to play especially well against his hometown Buffalo Bills — he caught more passes (69) and more touchdowns (12) for more yards (1,070) against Buffalo than against any other team. Here, in 2016, he carried four Bills players along for the ride during a 33-yard catch and run.
Gronkowski seemed to play especially well against his hometown Buffalo Bills — he caught more passes (69) and more touchdowns (12) for more yards (1,070) against Buffalo than against any other team. Here, in 2016, he carried four Bills players along for the ride during a 33-yard catch and run.(Barry Chin/Globe Staff/File)
Announcers used all sorts of creative words to describe Gronkowski’s hands, which he used to reel in several highlight-reel touchdowns, like this one in 2017 against, you guessed it, the Bills.
Announcers used all sorts of creative words to describe Gronkowski’s hands, which he used to reel in several highlight-reel touchdowns, like this one in 2017 against, you guessed it, the Bills.(Maddie Mayer/Getty Images/File)
Gronkowski pulled down a pair of touchdown catches and had 116 receiving yards in Super Bowl LII, but despite his efforts, the Patriots fell to the Phildelphia Eagles.
Gronkowski pulled down a pair of touchdown catches and had 116 receiving yards in Super Bowl LII, but despite his efforts, the Patriots fell to the Phildelphia Eagles. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff/File)
As it turned out, Gronkowski’s NFL career would end with a Super Bowl win in February. This was his final catch, a 29-yard reception that set up the Patriots’ only touchdown of the game.
As it turned out, Gronkowski’s NFL career would end with a Super Bowl win in February. This was his final catch, a 29-yard reception that set up the Patriots’ only touchdown of the game.(Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff/File)
Known for his love of fun, Gronkowski enjoyed three Super Bowl parades as a member of the Patriots, including this one in Boston in February.
Known for his love of fun, Gronkowski enjoyed three Super Bowl parades as a member of the Patriots, including this one in Boston in February.(Steve Annear/Globe Staff)

Peter Bailey-Wells can be reached at peter.bailey-wells@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @pbaileywells.

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