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Even by professional sports standards, Rob Gronkowski seems larger than life. On the football field, the tight end proved to be an unstoppable physical force; away from the gridiron, he loves partying and dabbles in pro wrestling. Beyond that facade, however, Gronk is a real person with some surprisingly ordinary habits.

During his nine seasons in the NFL, Gronkowski took home more than $50 million in salary alone. No matter how much money he earns, though, the big tight end still follows one of his old “broke [habits].”

Rob Gronkowski’s dominant football career

While it might be easy to write Rob Gronkowski off as something of a football-spiking, party-loving cartoon character, that would be vastly underselling him. Gronk might have a larger-than-life persona, but he’s still an elite athlete.

At the University of Arizona, Gronkowski showed flashes of potential. He recorded 75 receptions for 1,197 yards and 16 touchdowns in his first two NCAA seasons, but missed his entire junior year with a back injury; he then entered the 2010 NFL draft. Despite that limited sample size and an awful interview, the New England Patriots selected him in the second round.

Once he landed in Foxboro, though, Gronk put any potential concerns to bed. The tight end could seemingly do it all; he was capable of blocking with the best of them, but also had had the athleticism of a wide receiver. Unsurprisingly, he became one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets.

Gronkowski would play nine seasons with the Patriots, pulling in 521 catches for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns, before injuries forced him to retire; he earned just over $53 million during that time. The tight end will be reuniting with Brady in Tampa Bay this season, though, giving him a chance to further pad his stat line and his bank account.

Still holding onto an old ‘broke habit’

Between his hard-partying ways and his sizable bank account, you might think Rob Gronkowski plays fast and loose with his money, but that’s actually not the case. In fact, the tight end still holds onto one old “broke habit.”

“My broke habit is still my clothing and shoes,” Gronk explained on a 2018 episode of UNTERRUPTED’s Kneading Dough. “If I like the clothing, if I like the shoes, I’ll wear those shoes, and I’ll wear that clothing down to its rags. The way I can get rid of a good shirt that I wore 50 times already, I have to spill everything on it, it has to get ripped off in the club or something, and then boom, I’ll finally get rid of that shirt. But my shoes, I still wear to the tee, I wear it down until my shoes are raggedy.”

Gronk went on to theorize that he learned the habit in childhood. As one of five brothers, he received plenty of hand-me-downs; even when he struck it rich, he wasn’t going to start taking things for granted.

Rob Gronkowski has made $50 million and counting

During his first nine NFL seasons in New England, Rob Gronkowski earned more than $53 million in salary. While he’ll take home another $10 million this season, the tight end didn’t come out of retirement for another paycheck; by all accounts, he’s actually quite responsible with his finances.

As you might imagine from his “broke habit,” the tight end has set aside most of his salary for a rainy day; while he’s not living a spartan existence, he tries to keep his spending in control. “I’d just say keep it simple,” Gronkowski told Business Insider. “Keep it easy, and I’d say keep it simple. Get what you need to be comfortable, save the extra.”

That responsible spending, combined with his NFL salary and business ventures, puts Rob Gronkowski in a great place financially. Even if he still holds onto an old broke habit, he’s in no danger of losing his fortune anytime soon.