Rob Gronkowski has no ill will toward New England, and the future Hall of Fame tight end put up $1.2 million to prove it.
Gronk donated $1.2 million through his Gronk Nation Youth Foundation toward a full renovation of the Charlesbank Playground in Boston, per Lisa Kashinsky, who added that the area could be renamed Gronk Playground if legislation passes.
"The Patriots taught me the importance of giving back the very first day I stepped in that organization," Gronkowski said while addressing the crowd, captured in the above video. "So, a huge shout-out to [owner] Mr. [Robert] Kraft and the Patriots for installing that into me.
"Most importantly, I want to thank the incredible fans of New England. I'm humbled and honored to have the opportunity to be part of this amazing community and give back."
The four-time All-Pro added (h/t CBS Sports): "No matter where I go or where I live, I will always have a special connection to New England and the people who live here."
The Patriots selected Gronkowski in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft, and pairing him with then-Pats quarterback Tom Brady turned out to be a historical move.
#TomBrady and #Gronk now hold the record for most touchdowns by a duo in #NFLPlayoffs (14) and #SuperBowl (5) history, surpassing Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. #GoBucs #SBLV #NFL : Mike Ehrmann pic.twitter.com/EI5PBMQq6q— Getty Images Sport (@GettySport) February 8, 2021
The 31-year-old's playing career seemed to end when he announced his retirement in March 2019, following New England's 13-3 Super Bowl LIII victory over the Los Angeles Rams. However, once Brady departed the Patriots for the Bucs last March, he was coaxed out of retirement to reunite with the seven-time-champion quarterback: