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College recruiters and NFL scouts sometimes refer to prospects who have a motor that never stops. It’s a compliment that speaks to their intensity and perseverance, and it’s a trait that showed up in Rob Gronkowski long before he even reached high school.

No matter how battered he was, the player’s father recalls, Gronk had a habit of coming back for more.

Rob Gronkowski and his brothers were an active bunch

Gordy Gronkowski Sr. was a college football lineman for Syracuse University who nearly made the roster of the USFL’s New Jersey Generals in 1983. Once football was behind him, Gronkowski took a job in sales and began raising a family with wife Diane.

There would be five boys in all over the course of a decade, beginning with Gordie Jr. and then Dan. Chris, Rob, and Glenn would follow. The boys generally were big even when they were little, and all grew to 6-foot-2 or taller.

Gordy Gronkowski eventually opened his own fitness equipment business, which made him a natural to train and coach his crew of boys, with baseball and hockey the sports of choice until he allowed then to take up football once they reached junior high.

“It was a crazy household, as you can imagine,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “We had a good brawl every single day. I had to break somebody up. I mean, a very competitive household, and that’s how I was growing up. I always had to win, and they got that from me.”

Rob Gronkowski never knew when to stop

“Growing up Gronk is a special term to me,” Rob Gronkowski said. “As kids, we grew up fearless, ready to take on any opponent, any time, and compete at the highest level possible while giving it your all.”

The trait was most apparent in the former New England Patriots tight end, who came out of retirement in the offseason to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was the brother who would absorb some of the worst beatdowns but kept coming back for more.

The way disagreements were settled in the Gronkowski household was to put the feuding brothers in opposite corners of the living room, each armed with a couch pillow.

“My rule was no hitting in the face and no hitting in the midsection,” Gordy Gronkowski said.

He should have also instituted time limits because Rob Gronkowski never knew when enough was enough.

“It’s funny, because Rob, they just beat the hell out of that kid because he was such a wise guy all the time. They would nail him, doing those charley horses and things. But when they were through, he would go right back after them. It was non-stop. He had no fears. The kid had no fears growing up. I still think he’s like that.”

Gordy Gronkowski

That likely goes a long way toward explaining his successful NFL career.

He keeps going off the field, too

Rob Gronkowski’s fun-loving reputation possibly contributes to a suspicion by some that he lacks gravitas and maybe isn’t the brightest of people. The reality is that he was a good student throughout high school and college, according to his father.

When it comes to finances, he’s taken the approach that his NFL salary goes straight into his savings account. He pays his day-to-day expenses with the money earned from endorsements and side hustles such as the dabbling in the WWE and co-hosting the TV show Game On! With Venus Williams.

“It’s so funny, because they all think he’s a big goofball or dumb jock or things like that,” Gordy Gronkowski said of his son. “But he knows exactly every move that he makes, and he knows exactly every dollar he’s got.”