FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski played with a heavy heart in Sunday's 33-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans, dedicating the game and his first-quarter touchdown to his late friend and trainer Dana Parenteau.
When Gronkowski caught a 5-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, he thrust both of his arms into the air.
"I was just pointing up to him because I know he's up there watching," Gronkowski said quietly after the game. "He was at every game with my family, a close family friend. He loved the game of football, loved being at all my games, always had my back. I definitely made that score for him."
Gronkowski missed Friday's practice because of Parenteau's death, which he said he learned of at 3 a.m. Hours before Sunday's game, he shared on his personal Facebook page that he was dedicating the game to Parenteau, writing, "This one's for Dana. #GameTime"
After the game, Gronkowski posted a picture on his Facebook page of his arms raised in the air after his touchdown.
Gronkowski had delivered one of his trademark spikes after scoring the touchdown, but made sure to retrieve the ball, which he said he plans to bring to Parenteau's family.
The two first met in 2010, Gronkowski's rookie season.
"Ever since then, we hit it off and talked every day," he said, adding that he believes Parenteau would have wanted him to play in Sunday's game. "He loved pumping me up before the games and loved [the team] to go out there and ball. That's what we did today."