Buffalo, NY—After nine seasons with the New England Patriots, Williamsville native Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from football this week. The factors that led the three-time Super Bowl champ to step away from the game included: a litany of injuries, the glaring, wordless rebukes from Patriots coach, Bill Belichick that always made him feel like such an asshole and the demands of football which interfered with his Party Bus business and partying in general. Gronk also cited that he’s grown weary of dominating his hometown team: the Buffalo Bills. “Yeah, I know,” he said, “I made plenty of exaggerated gestures when I picked up a first down and it seemed like I took some extra special pleasure in spiking the ball when I scored against the Bills, but deep down it was killing me. They’ve sucked for twenty years now and for the last nine, I’ve been a big part of making them suck. But, the truth is, I’m tired of owning the Bills.”
Gronk’s numbers against the Bills are impressive. In fifteen games he caught 69 passes for 1070 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Patriots were also 13-2 against the Bills during his nine-year career. These numbers are slightly better than career averages, but Gronk noted, “My behavior was way more obnoxious in Buffalo than anyplace else.”
Despite being a big part of why the Bills have been dominated by the Patriots throughout his career, ironically enough it was the jeering of one fan: Captain Dave, that kept him motivated to stay in the game for as long as he did. “The first thing you notice about Captain Dave is his giant head- I mean, this fucking thing is like the Liberty Bell or something- it’s huge.”
Gronk related that he first met Captain Dave at a Bills tailgate in 2004 when he was an eleventh grader at Williamsville North. The veteran Bills fan took him under his wing and showed him how to sip whiskey and talk smack. “Week after week,” Gronk said, “I was flaming out in an embarrassing way at the tailgates until Captain Dave showed me how to pace myself. He also was really good when it came to running your mouth too- he knew how to deploy the smack at just the right time. The Captain is largely responsible for why I’m such a wordsmith today. ”
But the relationship soured when Gronkowski became a member of the Patriots. “The Captain was always easy to find in the stands because of his giant head and his Captain America get up. So, my first game in Buffalo I wave up to him from the endzone and he starts laying all this smack down on me, which really hurt. From then on his was the only voice I ever heard- year after year-game after game and it really motivated me to dominate.”
Gronk is unsure whether he will ever reconcile with Captain Dave, but he is sure that he is tired of football and owning the Bills. He said he is going to take some time to think about his next move, but thought he might like to be a stockbroker or maybe go to medical school. That, or be a pro wrestler.