‘That’s where the legend of Gronk started’: Rob Gronkowski reminisces about his days in New England
Gronkowski also said he appreciates the Patriots fans who are rooting for him still.
Rob Gronkowski might be playing football in Tampa Bay now, but he still has a deep appreciation for his first professional home.
The star tight end reminisced over his days with the Patriots, where he won three Super Bowls and played in four, as he prepares for his first trip to the big game with the Buccaneers.
“Those years in New England mean everything to me,” Gronkowski told reporters during Super Bowl “Opening Night.” “That’s where I started my career. That’s where the legend of Gronk started. That’s where it boomed. I appreciate those times. I am grateful for all those times. Just everything there. I learned so much throughout those times. I feel like I grew throughout those times, throughout my time in New England.
“I feel like I learned so much information just about the game of football, about the game of life, just everything overall throughout my nine years there. My family, my friends that I met throughout my time there. Just the people. Just everything. Just the atmosphere. Those times are appreciated.
“That will always be in a special place in my heart throughout those nine years that I was there. I have definitely taken some of those lessons I’ve learned and brought them with me to the next chapter in my life, too, and it has definitely helped me out to get to where I am now.”
Gronkowski’s nine-year tenure in New England began in 2010, when the Patriots selected him in the second round of that year’s draft. By his second season, Gronkowski was a star. He caught 17 touchdowns in 2011, setting the record for most receiving touchdowns for a tight end in a season en route to making his first of five Pro Bowls and first of four first-team All-Pros. Gronkowski’s dominance in New England earned him even bigger honors in 2019. He was named to the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade Team and the NFL’s 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Gronkowski’s dominance on the field and his colorful persona off it made him a fan favorite. That’s why it shouldn’t be a surprise that 90 percent of Boston.com readers said that they’re rooting for him and Brady in Super Bowl LV. Gronkowski said it’s a “sense of relief” to hear that Patriots fans are backing him in Super Bowl LV.
“My friends and family that I have been hearing from, I feel like I get a sense that there’s a lot of people cheering for us,” Gronkowski said. “All the friends and family I talk to are always like, ‘Man, there’s so many people cheering for you up here.’ It’s great and it’s good to hear. It’s a sense of relief to hear because when I was there I appreciated everything — from the organization to the fans. They have unbelievable fans up there and it is just cool just to hear that they are still watching and when my friends are up there they are like, ‘Yo, everyone is cheering up here for you.’ It’s pretty cool.
“It’s pretty cool to be appreciated like that because when I was up there I did give everything I had. I gave everything I had out on the field and I gave everything I had in practice, whatever it was. I gave everything I had when I was at charity events, giving back to the community. It’s definitely special and it settles in a place in my heart when I hear my friends and family say there’s a lot of people up there that are cheering for us and happy for us. It’s definitely pretty special.”
Gronkowski and the Buccaneers will take on the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay on Sunday.
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