The Buffalo Bills are pulling in all kinds of fans for their playoff run, including a once-hated rival.
Former New England Patriots star and Buffalo native Rob Gronkowski sounded off on the team’s potential Super Bowl run, saying he’s returning to his childhood roots and cheering on the Bills. Gronkowski’s statement comes just days after admitting that he thought about the idea of playing for the Bills, even though he spent most of his career tormenting them along with Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Rob Gronkowski Shares Love for Bills
In an appearance on the “New Heights” podcast with Jason and Travis Kelce on January 16, Gronkowski said now that he’s no longer suiting up for a Buffalo rival, he’s pulling for them in the playoffs — and potentially beyond as well.
“OK, now I’m retired again, so I wanna bring this back up,” Gronkowski said. “I’m kind of a Buffalo Bills fan now, again.”
Gronkowski grew up in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst, where he was a multi-sport high school star athlete before moving to Pittsburgh for his senior year. Gronkowski said he grew up rooting for the Bills and idolizing their players.
“The Bills do mean a lot to my family and I,” Gronkowski said last year, via WKBW. “We grew up in Buffalo, 25 minutes from the stadium. I was a big Bills fan growing up.”
“Whenever I was in the backyard playing football with my friends, my brothers and I, you line up out wide you’re pretending you’re the receiver they had,” Gronkowski added. “Moulds was my favorite player. If you make a stop or big hit you’re acting like Takeo Spikes. The history of the Buffalo Bills goes way back for my family and I from playing in the backyard to watching the games.”
But Bills fans didn’t always share the same love for Gronkowski. He had a knack for gashing the Bills during his time with the Patriots, and was part of one of the most notorious incidents in team history when he hit then-rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White in the back of the head following a play in 2017. The hit earned Gronkowski a one-game suspension, the only one of his career.
Gronkowski apologized to White after the game and has worked to mend fences after his retirement. He returned to Buffalo last year for a fundraiser at the gym owned by his family and recently made a donation to a fundraiser for Damar Hamlin’s charity.
Gronkowski Considered Coming Out of Retirement to Play for the Bills
Gronkowski may have come very close to playing for the Bills. In a recent appearance on “Up & Adams” on January 6, the tight end said he wished he had a chance to suit up for the team he cheered on throughout his childhood.
“In a way for sure, you know,” Gronkowski said when host Kay Adams asked if he was “bummed” he never got to play for the Bills. “That’s a dream come true, especially when you’re a kid, you definitely want to play for your hometown team because that’s the team that you’re watching your whole time growing up.”