This past Friday, All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski agreed to a $54 million deal with the New England Patriots, the richest contract for a tight end in NFL history. The 23 year old Gronkowski had a record breaking year in 2011, catching 17 touchdown passes (a league record for tight ends) on 90 receptions and 1,327 yards. Before Gronkowski, there were some game-breaking, All-Pro tight ends in the 1980's. Two of the best of those tight ends were Kellen Winslow, Sr. and Ozzie Newsome.
Winslow played for the San Diego Chargers from 1979 to 1987. Winslow made 5 Pro Bowl appearances, was selected first team All-Pro 3 times, and was named to the 1980's All Decade Team. He helped revolutionize the tight end position with his athletic ability and wide receiver skills.
Ozzie Newsome played tight end for the Cleveland Browns from 1978 to 1990. Newsome was a 3 time Pro Bowler and he was named All-Pro 7 times. Newsome, well-known for his durability and toughness, played in 198 consecutive games for the Browns.