Through his first eight-plus years in the league, New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski has been one of the top players at his position.
A major part of that has been his ability to get into the end zone as he added his 78 career touchdown receptions in Sunday's 27-13 win over the New York Jets. According to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, Gronkowski is now tied for the third-most touchdowns for a player prior to reaching age 30 only trailing Hall of Fame wide receivers Randy Moss and Jerry Rice.
The 29-year-old Gronkowski is now tied for third all time for the most touchdown catches in NFL history for a player in his 20s. Randy Moss, who had 101 touchdown catches before turning 30, and Jerry Rice, who had 95 touchdown catches before turning 30, are the only players with more. Terrell Owens also had 78 touchdown catches before his 30th birthday.
Although he is well below the pace that both Moss and Rice were at this point of their respective careers, it speaks to the type of game-changing talent that Gronkowski has been throughout his career. He has had a nose for the end zone, proving to be one of the best red zone targets that the league has ever seen due to his size, strength, and athleticism.
However, this hectic pace that he was on in the red zone has been slowed by injuries over the last couple of years. This has especially been the case this season as he has missed a few games due to nagging issues with his back and ankle. There have now been more serious questions in terms of whether he can return to playing at an elite level at this point of his career given his persistent health issues.
Nonetheless, Gronkowski has put together an illustrious career that he continues to add to that should one day land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.