Patriots' Gronkowski dented Lombardi by 'bunting' baseball

Recently retired New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski dented the team's newest Lombardi Trophy by "bunting" a pitch from teammate Julian Edelman before the Boston Red Sox's Opening Day game at Fenway Park last week.

As detailed in a story and video on the team's website, the incident happened as a portion of the team was preparing to throw out the first pitch on April 9, a little over two months after the Patriots' triumph over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

A few players, including Edelman and Gronkowski, were throwing warm-up pitches in a tented area before the game when Gronkowski grabbed the trophy like a bat and stood with it in a batters' stance, waiting on a pitch from Edelman.

"I say to myself, 'Certainly that's just Rob having some fun. He would never hit the ball with that,'" Patriots special teams ace Matthew Slater recalled to the team's website.

As the pitch approached, Gronkowski squared and used the "bat" to bunt, making square contact with the back of the football shape atop the trophy. A loud clank can be heard on the video as the ball hits and bounces back toward the mound, followed by a bunch of players howling -- some in laughter, others in surprise.

"It sounded exactly what you think a baseball hitting the Lombardi Trophy would sound like," offensive lineman Ted Karras said.

Executive vice president of media relations Stacey James told ESPN that the team will "keep the dent and tell the story" for now, although it could be fixed in the future.

The trophy is the sixth in franchise history, all of which have been won since February 2002. Many Super Bowl-winning teams have replica trophies for use at public events while keeping the originals under lock and key, but the dented trophy is apparently the original from Super Bowl LIII.

Long known for his rambunctious personality, the 29-year-old Gronkowski announced his retirement in late March after nine NFL seasons.

--Field Level Media

04/17/2019 23:50

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