Boston: One of the most prolific tight ends in NFL history is calling it a career.

Rob Gronkowski, who played a significant role in helping Tom Brady and Bill Belichick extend the New England Patriots’ nearly two-decade long era of dominance, announced his retirement via Instagram.

“It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far,” Gronkowski wrote. “I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that [Patriots owner Robert Kraft] and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010.”

Hobbled by injury, Gronkowski’s effectiveness in the Patriots’ offence has been limited over the last three seasons. In November, Gronkowski described his 2018 season as “challenging” after nagging back and ankle injuries kept him sidelined for multiple games.

In 13 games last season, Gronkowski still made an impact — even if he wasn’t playing at his typical Pro Bowl level. He caught 47 passes for 682 yards but was held to only three touchdowns, the lowest since his injury-riddled 2016 season. Despite this, he helped New England secure their sixth Super Bowl title, and third since he joined the team.