Rob Gronkowski WrestleMania 33
Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL on Sunday with a heartfelt Instagram post, calling it a career after nine NFL seasons.

Now that his career is over, we cannot help but wonder if Canton will soon be calling this former New England Patriots star.

The big picture: One of the most dominant playmakers in the league when healthy, Gronkowski’s career was cut short by injuries.

  • In his nine-year career, Gronkowski played a full 16-game season just twice.
  • All told, Gronk missed 29 regular-season games and two full postseasons.

Despite the injuries, Gronkowski finished with 521 catches for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns in 115 career games.

  • That’s an average of 4.5 catches, 68.3 yards, and 0.68 touchdowns per game.

Before the injuries really became a major storyline, Gronkowski’s career was on a sure-fire, first-ballot Hall of Fame trajectory.

  • From 2010 to 2015, and including his seven-game 2013 season, Gronkowski hauled in a ridiculous 65 touchdowns in 80 games.

A postseason legend: In addition to his big-time stats during the regular season, Gronkowski put up huge numbers in 16 career postseason games.

  • With 81 career postseason receptions, Gronk ranks 8th on the all-time list.
  • His 1,163 postseason receiving yards ranks 9th on the all-time list.
  • With 12 postseason touchdown receptions, Gronkowski is second on the all-time list, behind only the great Jerry Rice (22).

In addition to his postseason stats, Gronkowski’s three Super Bowl championships absolutely help his cause as a potential Hall of Fame candidate.

Peer review: There are currently nine tight ends to be voted into the Hall of Fame, and only two of them — Tony Gonzalez and Shannon Sharpe — have stats more impressive than Rob Gronkowski.

The verdict: Because of his impact on the game, and because of the way Gronkowski dominated before injuries kept him from putting up legendary career stats, we see him one day entering the Hall of Fame.

Gronkowski might not be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he warrants a spot in Canton, without a shadow of doubt.

Jesse Reed
Managing Editor at Sportsnaut. Featured on Yardbarker and MSN.com, and formerly was a breaking news writer/NFL analyst for Bleacher Report.