Robert James Gronkowski, sometimes known by the nickname 'Gronk', was born in Amherst, New York on May 14, 1989. A tight end for the New England Patriots, he holds the NFL single-season records for the most touchdowns by a tight end, the most touchdown receptions by a tight end and the most receiving yards by a tight end, all of which were recorded over the course of the 2011 season.
Gronkowski began his high school football career at Williamsville North High School in Williamsville, New York. He played there for three seasons and was named first team All-Western New York and second team All-State in his junior year. Gronkowski moved to Woodland Hills High School in Churchill, Pennsylvania for his senior season and was named as an All-American by PrepStar and SuperPrep and was a Class 4-A All-State selection by the Associated Press.
After high school, Gronkowski opted to attend the University of Arizona. He impressed during his first year and was named as a freshman All-American by several sources. During his sophomore year, he set various school tight end records for receptions, yards and touchdowns. However, he missed his junior year in 2009, after undergoing back surgery. Prior to the surgery, he had been considered a contender for the Lombardi Award. As a result of missing the season, his draft stock plummeted.
During the 2010 NFL Draft, Gronkowski was picked up by the New England Patriots in the second round, as the 42nd overall selection. He enjoyed a promising rookie season, which included a record-breaking performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 10. During the game, he caught a total of three touchdown passes, becoming the first Patriots rookie and the youngest NFL player ever to do so.
In his record-setting 2011 season, Gronkowski helped the Patriots to reach the NFL Playoffs, where they went on to win the AFC Championship Game and earn a trip to Super Bowl XLVI. Despite suffering from an ankle injury, which later required surgery, he started at the Super Bowl, but the team went on to lose to the New York Giants. At the end of the season, Gronkowski was a Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection; honors which he received once again at the conclusion of the 2012 season.
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