The retirement of New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski drew comments from many coaches and players around the NFL. However, there was nothing more surprising than the reaction of long-time Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, when he was asked to comment about Gronkowski’s decision to hang up his cleats after nine seasons in the NFL.

“I’m happy. I’m thrilled,” said Harbaugh, reported. He added that Gronkowski’s decision to retire is “good for him.” “I think it’s going to be great. He’s ready for the next phase of his life and I think he’s going to do great,” added Harbaugh, who had some share of classic battles against Gronkowski.

Harbaugh calls Gronkowski an all-around tight end

According to Harbaugh, Gronkowski was an all-around tight end, thanks to his ability to block and catch the ball. Gronkowski’s ability, Harbaugh said, turned the tight end into a nightmare on defense. “He was a hard guy to cover. He just changed the math. He changed the math. He was just a nightmare to try and defend,” Harbaugh stressed.

Harbaugh added that the combination of quarterback Tom Brady, wide receiver Julian Edelman, and Gronkowski was a major headache for other teams when it comes to defense. The veteran head coach said Gronkowski will be a major threat, even in zone or man-to-man defense with his blocking prowess and ability to connect with Brady.

For Harbaugh, One unforgettable memory of Gronkowski was in 2015 during their 35-31 loss to the Patriots in an AFC Divisional round playoff showdown at Gillette Stadium. In that game, Harbaugh accused the Patriots of using illegal formations during the game where head coach Bill Belichick used five wideouts and Gronkowski to confuse the Ravens defense.

Play-by-play man says Gronk ‘hell of a player’

Al Michaels, the play-by-play man of NBC Sunday Night Football, described Gronkowski as a “heck of a player” and a “lot of fun to watch.” Michaels also said Gronk, with his colorful personality, will be sorely missed by the NFL. Michaels also described Gronkowski’s career as tremendous, considering all the injuries that he suffered throughout his nine-year NFL career.

A second-round pick by the Patriots in the 2010 NFL Draft out of Arizona, Gronkowski showed potential in his rookie year, receiving 42 passes for 546 yards and 10 touchdowns. In his second year, Gronkowski showed that he’s not a flash in a pan as he caught 90 passes for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns. Gronkowski finished his career with 521 receptions for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns in 115 games, with 110 starts. He won three Super Bowl rings with the Patriots, with the last coming at Super Bowl LIII.