Whether you think of him as the best tight end in the NFL, your number one fantasy football pick or just a colorful, occasionally shocking character, if you’re a football fan, you have an opinion on Rob Gronkowski. Depending on which team you root for, or how closely you’re paying attention, the Rob Gronkowski that exists outside the sidelines may surprise you.

A player for the kids

Gronk has been teamed up with ProCamps youth football camp for several years, and he says he takes pride in being a role model. “It feels good to be looked up to and to be able to provide a positive influence,” he beams in typical Gronk candor, adding, “I might be helping the next athlete in his or her career, which is a great feeling.”

In addition to the camps, Gronkowski often visits Boston-area children’s hospitals. He’s also a longtime Make-A-Wish athlete. It’s a role he’s enjoyed growing into over these past few years: “The best moment is seeing kids just being kids—eager, chins up and having fun at my camp. At their age, positive memories can make all the difference in who they’ll become.”

SPANNING BEYOND THE FIELD: Either at the ProCamps youth football camp or through his work with Make-A-Wish and children's hospitals, Gronk is radiating his own positivity in order to make a difference in kids' lives.

Modeling positivity

If you follow sports news, you’ve probably seen stories about Gronk dancing, partying and generally having a good time. It comes as little surprise, then, that he credits that positive attitude and ability to have fun with the big impact he seems to make wherever he goes.

“I like to keep a positive outlook on and off the field,” Gronk contends. “Having a positive attitude has kept me going this far, and it's the only way to succeed in the long run.”

Things aren’t always rosy, of course. The Patriots star has had to recover from multiple injuries through the years—some of them seemingly career-ending. He says he’s learned recovery requires hard work, and advises others recovering from injury to stay disciplined, keep up with physical therapy and remain as mentally tough as possible.

“You can beat this injury,” Gronk says. “And tomorrow is another day closer to proving that.”