Bills fans always disliked Rob Gronkowski when he played for the Patriots, mainly because he caught 69 passes for 1,070 yards and 12 touchdowns in 15 games against Buffalo over nine seasons. The Patriots were 13-2 in those games.
But now that he’s retired, the Amherst, New York, native no longer gets booed in his home state.
Gronkowski even heard cheers in Buffalo this week when he made a $50,000 donation to Oishei Children’s Hospital.
“Now that I’m retired, Buffalo kind of accepts me a little bit more,” Gronkowski said, via Kyle Silagyi of USA Today. “We were out Saturday night, and they were all giving cheers at a charity event and everything.
“It was cool to finally be accepted once again where I grew up, so I decided I’ll come back and start giving back now. All right?”
In 2017, Oishei Children’s Hospital replaced Buffalo’s Women & Children’s Hospital, which treated Gronkowski as a child.
“I’ve actually been to the children’s hospital twice myself when I was growing up, the other one,” Gronkowski said. “It’s actually really cool to see this new, improved, upgraded children’s hospital here, and just to give back to where I was taken care of.”
He donated $25,000 to a Portland-based children’s hospital last week, and earlier this year, the Gronk Nation Foundation donated $80,000 to Boston Children’s Hospital.