BOSTON — At 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is a fairly enormous human being, so he must have looked like a giant Thursday when he met with kids at Boston Children's Hospital.
"They're all like, 'Oh, man, you're huge,'" Gronkowski said. "They're not calling [Patriots cornerback] Leigh [Bodden] or [safety] Patrick [Chung] huge. I'm just tall, that's why."
Gronkowski, Bodden, Chung, linebacker Jerod Mayo and linebacker Rob Ninkovich took part in the "Cares for Kids Radiothon" that benefited the hospital. They visited rooms, met with a number of patients, signed autographs and did anything they could to put a smile on their faces, and the Patriots were happy to do it.
Bodden even hoped to reconnect with the kids later.
"This is great, to put a smile on kids' faces," Bodden said. "Every room we walked in, they were so surprised, and they're happy for us to be there, talk to them, get to know them. I got to know every one of those kids in there. There were a lot of March birthdays coming up. I'm thinking about trying to send them a present or something. It's great to put a smile on their faces and to do something for kids who are less fortunate."
It also helped the Patriots forget about football for a little while, which was particularly important Thursday when the league's labor negotiations were such an overwhelming topic of discussion.
"Definitely any time you can help put a smile on these kids’ faces it’s a great time," Mayo said. "I’m not even thinking about football right now."
"Coming here to Children's hospital, putting a smile on these kids' faces," Gronkowski said. "You're not really thinking about anything else, just being here helping out these kids, putting a smile on their faces. It puts a smile on my face. It makes me very grateful for what I have in my life. You just come out as a happy person, too, being here and helping everyone out."