Power Players

Rob Gronkowski is retiring—here's the No. 1 piece of financial advice he gave his teammates

Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots
Scott Halleran | Getty Images

After nine seasons with the New England Patriots, NFL star Rob Gronkowski announced on Instagram that he has officially decided to retire from the game. 

"It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true," he wrote, "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."

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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. I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart of this 1st class organization. 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. But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

The superstar tight end was signed to a six-year, $54 million contract with the New England Patriots. Although he was one of the highest-paid tight ends in the league, the 29-year-old had not touched a dime of his NFL money. As he revealed in his 2015 book, "It's Good to Be Gronk," he lived off his endorsements instead.

Gronkowski, who teamed up with Honey Nut Cheerios for their Good Rewards program last year, says that as a veteran on his team, there is one piece of advice he would always gives his rookie teammates about managing their money.

"Financially, I just say: Keep it simple," he tells CNBC Make It.

Unlike many other professional leagues where athletes' contracts are fully guaranteed, NFL players' are not. That's why Gronkowski says he would always tell his young teammates to "get what you need to live comfortably but don't go crazy with splurging until you feel comfortable in the league."

Rob Gronkowski
Tom Szczerbowski | Getty Images

When he got his first NFL paycheck, Gronkowski said he put it all in the bank. And he spent his endorsement money carefully too. It wasn't until recently, after eight seasons of being frugal, that he finally decided to splurge.

"When I signed my incentive deal last year, my friend had a chain and I was like, 'Dang, man, that's a nice chain,'" Gronkowski told entrepreneur Maverick Carter on an episode of UNINTERRUPTED's "Kneading Dough" last year. "I never had jewelry in my life. He let me wear it last year at a party and it made me feel good."

After a successful 2017 season that included a Super Bowl appearance, Gronkowski decided to treat himself and buy a nice chain.

"Now I know why people got jewelry," he told Carter. "Now I understand why."

Gronkowski wasn't the first or only well-paid NFL player to be open about his frugal spending habits. Minnesota Vikings star Kirk Cousins, who is the first quarterback to have a multi-year, fully guaranteed deal and so can count on $84 million coming his way, nonetheless drives a dented GMC Savana van that he purchased from his grandma for $5,000.

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Cousins also revealed to GQ that, after being drafted into the league in 2012, he and his wife still spent their summers living in his parents' basement to save on housing costs.

In a 2016 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cousins explained, "You don't know how long you're going to play. You've got to save every dollar even though you are making a good salary."

This a revised version of a previously published post.

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