FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - At Tuesday evening's Patriots Premiere on the field at Gillette Stadium, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski became the 14th player to receive the New England Patriots Ron Burton Community service Award.
Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft presented Gronkowski with the award, which is named in honor of the late Ron Burton, the first player drafted by the team and a community leader whose widespread charitable work was a model for how a Patriots player can make an impact off the field.
"Rob is just as fun to watch at a community event as he is on the game field," said Kraft. "Giving back to the community is a big part of being 'Gronk.' He is engaging with fans of all ages. His gregarious personality makes him one of our greatest ambassadors, especially when spreading cheer to children at local hospitals or schools. We love the devotion and enthusiasm that he shows in the community and are proud to present him with this year's Ron Burton Community Service Award."
Gronkowski joined the Patriots as a second round pick out of Arizona in 2010 and immediately made an impact on the field with 10 touchdown receptions. In 2011, he set NFL single-season records for touchdowns (18) and receiving yards by a tight end (1,327) and became the first tight end in NFL history to lead the conference with 108 points. His five double-digit touchdown seasons (2010-12, 2014-15) are the most by a tight end in NFL history. He enters the 2016 season with 66 touchdowns overall, second in team history behind Stanley Morgan's 68 and his 65 receiving touchdowns are also second, behind Morgan's 67.
He has earned Pro Bowl honors in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015 and was named NFL All-Pro in 2011, 2014 and 2015.
Gronkowski joins a select group of Patriots players to receive the Ron Burton Award. Past recipients are Nate Solder (2015), Devin McCourty (2014), Matthew Slater (2013), Zoltan Mesko (2012), Jerod Mayo (2011), Vince Wilfork (2010), Kevin Faulk (2009), Larry Izzo (2008), Ty Warren (2007), Jarvis Green (2006), Matt Light (2005), Troy Brown (2004) and Joe Andruzzi (2003).