Rob Gronkowski helped former Pats teammate after fire burned down his home

By Jesse Reed

Rob Gronkowski is nothing if not a charitable human being. He recently won the New England Patriots’ 2016 Ron Burton Community Service Award for his work in the community.

Just last week, he extended a helping hand to a former teammate, Joe Vellano, who is now a member of the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad.

Vellano’s house burned down last week. The blaze started just minutes before the last preseason game of the season for New England. Unfortunately for Vellano, the Patriots ended up cutting him just a few days later, adding insult to injury so to speak.

But in his time of need, Gronkowski proved a good friend to Vellano.

“We were friends for the last three years, so we are good friends,” Vellano said of Gronkowski, per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure. “He just said to me, ‘Anything I can do to help?’ and stuff like that. It’s kind of a crazy, weird time. I’m just trying to put all things together right now.”

Vellano would not get into exactly how Gronkowski helped him out, but it’s clear he was grateful for the assistance.

As a member of the Patriots the past three years, Vellano has a Super Bowl ring. Thankfully his ring was not in the home, but many of his other treasured possessions were.

“I lost a lot of my Super Bowl stuff,” he said. “My ring was in my other house [in New York], but I had a bunch of helmets that were signed by the team and a bunch of gear and all that stuff. I had a little room for all the football stuff, and that caught on fire. It’s been a whirlwind couple of days, but I’m just glad to be here. I’m here now with these guys and just moving forward.”

The fire is being investigated at this time by police, per McClure, as they attempt to determine the cause of the blaze.