BOSTON (CBS) — Rob Gronkowski is now the all-time leader in touchdowns scored in Patriots franchise history.
The 27-year-old tight end set the new franchise record when he caught a pass late in the second quarter vs. Buffalo on Sunday and ran free for a 53-yard touchdown.
Gronkowski took a bow in front of his hometown fans before unleashing his usual Gronk spike.
“It’s cool, but I mean always, the win is more important. It’s awesome to get that win for sure. And that’s what’s most important is going out there and getting the team win,” Gronkowski said after the 41-25 victory over the Bills. “But overall, it’s definitely an honor, but I’ve got to keep on working and keep on grinding every day.”
Gronkowski entered the game with 17 receptions for 375 yards and two touchdowns on the year. He caught five passes for 109 yards and the record-setting touchdown on Sunday.
“Definitely an honor to come home to my hometown and get that record,” Gronkowski said. “To hold the franchise record for most touchdowns is just unbelievable. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my teammates, my coaches, we’re just always working together and making strides every single day when we step out on the practice field. And just seeing everyone, the way they work, all the opportunities the coaches gave me, and giving some credit to myself coming in and working hard every single day to get where I need to be. It’s just an awesome experience.”
Gronkowski’s highest single-season touchdown mark came in 2011, his second season in the league, when he caught 17 touchdown passes and scored on another play that was ruled a rushing touchdown for a total of 18. He followed up that showing with 11 touchdowns in 11 games in 2012.
The record previously belong to wide receiver Stanley Morgan, who played for the Patriots from 1977-89. Morgan caught 67 touchdowns and scored one touchdown on a punt return. Morgan played 180 games for the Patriots, while Sunday was Gronkowski’s 86th game with New England.
“Stanley Morgan actually called me to congratulate me. He was an awesome player and an awesome guy. He said congratulations and it was pretty cool. To get a phone call from him right after the game in the locker room was something special,” Gronkowski said. “It’s cool, but I mean always, the win is more important. It’s awesome to get that win for sure. And that’s what’s most important is going out there and getting the team win. But overall, it’s definitely an honor, but I’ve got to keep on working and keep on grinding every day.