FOXBORO, MA—In an emotional speech announcing his retirement after a nine-year NFL career with the New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski reportedly admitted Monday that he’ll miss his teammates’ blurry faces and the fans spinning perpetually in the stands. “It’s really hard to know that I’ll never again stumble off the field, trying to regain my balance while the stadium crowd whirls around me and bright lights hurt my eyes,” said the 29-year-old tight end, adding that he’ll never forget the smell of grass as his head was slammed into the turf by several tacklers or looking up at the dozens of fuzzy, indistinct teammates standing above him waiting for the injury cart to arrive. “I’ll miss the rush of trying to guess which of the 10 balls flying toward me was the one I was supposed to catch, and I’ll definitely pine for the days when I’d arrive at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday in June thinking it was gameday. Mostly, I’ll miss both Tom Bradys, both Bill Belichicks, and both Robert Krafts, who were always there for me, fading in and out of my vision, asking me if I was really in that much pain and if I could suck it up and get back on the field. I’m just thankful I’ll have this constant ringing in my ears to remember my time in the NFL by.” Gronkowski added that he was retiring early in order to enjoy the few years of remembering his career he has left.
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