This Week in US Sports: Rob Gronkowski & Conor McGregor retire, March Madness in full swing
Retirement was the theme of the week in the United States.
The start of the MLB season should have been the biggest story of the week, but two superstars decided to end their repsective careers and steal some of the spotlight.
All that and more on this week in US Sports.
1. Rob Gronkowski announces retirement
A legend is hanging up his cleats.
The New England Patriots' all-time leader in receiving touchdowns Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement on Sunday.
While some may be doubting whether or not he stays retired, the Patriots wished him well on his way out with a touching tribute.
All the feels.— New England Patriots (@Patriots) March 27, 2019
There were a lot of special moments over the last nine years, and we enjoyed every single one of them. Thank you, Gronk. pic.twitter.com/GHzbhAOt2t
Gronkowski finishes his career as the Patriots' second-leading receiver in yards and fourth in receptions.
2. Trail Blazers injuries piling up
It was bad enough for Portland when C.J. McCollum went down with a knee injury two weeks ago but the Trail Blazers were dealt another blow on Monday.
Center Jusuf Nurkic suffered a horrific compound fracture of his tibia and fibula in Portland's double-overtime win over the Brooklyn Nets.
He is out for the season and Portland continue to wait for McCollum to get back.
The Blazers have a serious challenge on their hands in the Western Conference playoffs already and with Nurkic reduced to the role of spectator their task has become significantly harder.
3. March Madness in full effect
The most intense month of the year is in full swing as March Madness enters the Sweet 16 this week.
It has been a relatively quiet start to the tournament as there have been very few upsets, but Duke and potential 2019 No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson narrowly avoided an early exit against UCF.
The Blue Devils came away with a win, but did so by only one point after the Knights missed a tip-in attempt in the final seconds.
DUKE SURVIVES! The basketball gods were with the Blue Devils today as Aubrey Dawkins’ follow JUST misses.— CollegeBB News (@CollegeBBNCAA) March 24, 2019
And it gets no easier for Duke, who should have their hands full with Virginia Tech on Friday when they match up in the Sweet 16.
4. Opening Day rarity
The MLB season is officially underway as all 30 teams played on Thursday, a week on from the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners contesting a two-game series in Tokyo.
And with Opening Day came a rare occurence as two games featured a battle between a Cy Young winner and runner-up from last season, marking the first time that has ever happened in MLB history.
Houston Astros starter Justin Verlander (2nd in American League Cy Young) took on Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell (1st), while Jacob deGrom (1st in National League Cy Young) of the New York Mets and Max Scherzer (2nd) of the Washington Nationals also faced off.
5. Conor McGregor announces retirement from MMA
Conor McGregor has always been one for drama and he surprised everyone this week when he announced his retirement from MMA and the UFC.
Hey guys quick announcement, I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as “Mixed Martial Art” today.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) March 26, 2019
I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition.
I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement.
Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!
His retirement comes less than a week after he said he deserved a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov, who he submitted to in October in a UFC lightweight title bout, so it will be interesting to see if McGregor sticks to his guns on this one.