There likely were times throughout Rob Gronkowski’s nine-year Patriots tenure when he hated Bill Belichick. After all, the tight end felt inclined to retire after such a grueling stretch in New England.

But Gronkowski, who played two seasons in Tampa Bay after leaving Foxboro, Mass., has no ill will toward his former head coach. Quite the contrary, in fact.

On the latest episode of the “Eye on Foxborough” podcast, Gronkowski explained why he became emotional when Belichick and the Patriots parted ways after last season.

“It was very sad to see Coach Belichick go because there wouldn’t have been a dynasty, there wouldn’t have been 20-plus years of a winning culture in New England without Coach Belichick,” Gronkowski said, as transcribed by MassLive. “He set the standard. Coach Belichick was the standard. Without him, none of this was possible. There’s no doubt about that. To see him go was sad. I mean, I had a tear. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Every good thing comes to an end, there’s no doubt about that. Now it’s time to flip the New England Patriots and see where they’re going.”

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Gronkowski was among those who thought Belichick and the Patriots should have stuck together despite a string of non-playoff seasons. The future Pro Football Hall of Famer also thought at least one team should’ve given Belichick full control once he hit the open market.

So, despite any hardships they might have encountered from 2010 to 2018, it sounds like Gronkowski will always be in Belichick’s corner.

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