Rob Gronkowski Recalls Thinking Tom Brady Was 'a Jerk' After First Joining the Patriots: 'He Got on My Case'

Gronkowski spoke highly of his former teammate during Brady's induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame

<p>Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty; Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty</p> Rob Gronkowski; Tom Brady

It's a good thing for Patriots fans that Rob Gronkowski didn't stand by his initial impression of star quarterback Tom Brady.

Speaking at Brady’s Patriots Hall of Fame induction at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, June 12, Gronkowski, 35, said that when he met his new quarterback after he was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2010, the tight end thought that Brady — who at that point had already won three Super Bowl titles — was a “jerk.”

But, as Gronkowski explained, over time, he came to realize that Brady, 46, simply wanted to make him and his teammates better players.

“He got on my case every single day,” said Gronkowski, who played with Brady for 11 seasons — nine with the Patriots and two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“He wasn’t afraid to get on your case to elevate your game to the next level," he added of his former teammate.

Gronkowski was one of many athletes and other celebrities to recognize Brady’s achievements — including his seven Super Bowl victories (six with the Patriots and one with the Buccaneers) — before a crowd of more than 60,000 fans at Gillette Stadium.

<p>New England Patriots</p> Rob Gronkowski at Tom Brady's Patriots Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski at Tom Brady's Patriots Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Related: Tom Brady Gives Sweet Shout-Out to His 3 Kids at Hall of Fame Ceremony: 'Your Smiles Outshine the Morning Sun'

Wednesday night’s star-studded celebration, which included multiple fireworks displays, was intentionally held on the twelfth day of the sixth month as a nod to Brady’s No. 12 jersey and the six Super Bowl championships he brought to New England.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft made it official during the ceremony that Brady's number “will never be worn again,” in the Patriots organization, and announced that a 12-ft.-tall bronze statue of Brady was commissioned by a local artist to be erected outside the stadium in front of the Hall of Fame this upcoming season.

“[It will] symbolize his position not as the greatest in franchise history, but the greatest in NFL history,” said Kraft, 83, who attended the ceremony with his wife, Dana Blumberg.

<p>New England Patriots</p> Tom Brady and Robert Kraft at Brady's Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony

New England Patriots

Tom Brady and Robert Kraft at Brady's Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony

Related: Julian Edelman Says Tom Brady Would Eat ‘a Single Chicken Wing’ as a Cheat Meal During Team Dinners (Exclusive)

Former head coach Bill Belichick, who parted ways with the Patriots earlier this year after 24 seasons, said it was a “tremendous honor and privilege to draft Tom and coach him for 20 years,” during the event.

The former quarterback thanked his family — including his three children, parents, sisters, teammates and friends — for their support at the event, which he called a “celebration” in contrast to last month’s Netflix roast, which he described as one of the “hardest hits I’ve ever taken in my life.”

<p>New England Patriots</p> Tom Brady's Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony

New England Patriots

Tom Brady's Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony

Celebrities in attendance included Jay-Z, who performed “Public Service Announcement” as Brady was introduced, Kenny Chesney, who sang “The Boys of Fall” and Jon Bon Jovi, who did not perform but attended as a friend.

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Brady choked up several times during the night — especially when talking about his family, friends, Kraft, and teammates, without whom he said he would not have achieved such success.

“We’re blessed because we learned so many things that most people never have the opportunity to learn: That nothing of significance in life is accomplished as an individual,” Brady says. “Nobody individually hangs those six banners up there. The team does.”

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