Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski announces retirement on Instagram

Tight end Rob Gronkowski, part of three Super Bowl winners with the New England Patriots, said Sunday that he is retiring from the NFL after nine seasons.

Gronkowski, 29, announced his decision via Instagram, saying “it’s time to move forward and move forward with a big smile.”

Drew Rosenhaus, Gronkowski’s agent, confirmed his client’s decision to retire.

Gronkowski has been dogged in recent seasons by back, knee, ankle and arm injuries that have limited his ability to stay on the field. His health led him to hint at retirement following New England’s Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles to end the 2017 season and again last month after the Patriots’ Super Bowl win over the Los Angeles Rams.

In his Instagram post, Gronkowski thanked the Patriots’ organization, head coach Bill Belichick and New England’s fans for their support during his career.

“Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be,” Gronkowski wrote.

Gronkowski, a four-time All-Pro, finished the 2018 regular season with 47 catches for 682 yards and three touchdowns. For his career, he had 521 receptions for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns.


American teenager wins IndyCar race

American driver Colton Herta, 18, became the youngest winner in IndyCar history when he took the IndyCar Classic in Austin, Texas, after a late-race crash near the entry to pit row helped him pass the leaders en route to the checkered flag.

Herta was running a distant third behind Will Power and Alexander Rossi until James Hinchcliffe bumped rookie Felix Rosenqvist into a spin and then the wall near the entry to pit lane.

Herta averaged 102.271 mph over 60 laps on the 3.41-mile course to beat runner-up Josef Newgarden by 2.7182 seconds.

• Brad Keselowski led for 446 of the 500 laps around the 0.526-mile Martinsville (Va.) Speedway to win NASCAR’s STP 500. Keselowski, who averaged 78.158 mph, beat runner-up Chase Elliott by 0.594 of a second.

Golf: Paul Casey closed with a 1-over-par 72 to finish at 8-under 276 for a one-shot victory over Jason Kokrak and Louis Oosthuizen at the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla.

• Jin Young Ko shot a 7-under 65 to win the LPGA Tour’s Founders Cup in Phoenix by one stroke over four players. Ko’s total of 22-under 266 proved to be good enough when third-round leader Yu Liu missed a 15-foot par putt on the par-4 18th.

• In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Scott Hend made a 3-foot birdie putt to beat Nacho Elvira on the first playoff hole in the European Tour’s Maybank Championship. Hend and Elvira finished 72 holes at 15-under 273.

Tennis: John Isner beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-5, 7-6 (6) in the third round of the Miami Open and next will face Kyle Edmund, who topped Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4.

In women’s play in the tournament in Miami Gardens, Fla., Venus Williams reached the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Daria Kasatkina. Williams next faces Simona Halep, who outlasted Polona Hercog 5-7, 7-6 (1), 6-2.

College basketball: Yasmine Robinson-Bacote scored 31 points to lead visiting Pepperdine (22-11) to a 65-61 win over St. Mary’s (21-12) in a Women’s NIT second-round game in Moraga. Sydney Raggio had 16 points for the Gaels. … In another WNIT game, Aari McDonald scored 20 points and host Arizona (20-13) won 64-48 over Pacific (19-13).

• Alabama fired men’s head coach Avery Johnson, a former Warriors point guard who had a 75-62 record in four years at the school. The Crimson Tide went 18-16 this season.

• Ron Hunter, who led Georgia State to the men’s NCAA Tournament, resigned to become the head coach at Tulane.

Soccer: Kekuta Manneh and Kenny Saief each scored as FC Cincinnati beat the host New England Revolution 2-0 in Major League Soccer play.

Running: Kenya’s Elisha Barno passed countryman John Korir with 150 meters left, then pulled away for a seven-second victory in the Los Angeles Marathon. Barno crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 46 seconds. Ethiopia’s Askale Merachi set a race record in winning the women’s division in 2:24:12.

Horse racing: Cutting Humor held off a late charge by Anothertwistafate, which was coming off a 7-length win in the El Camino Real Derby, to win the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby in Sunland Park, N.M.

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