Rob Gronkowski Can Barely Contain Himself When Somebody Says ’69’

Never change, Gronk.

Rob Gronkowski may go down as the greatest tight end to ever play in the NFL, but perhaps his most endearing quality is that he’s still a middle schooler at heart.

Gronkowski returned to the field in a big way Sunday, catching four passes for 86 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots’ 27-6 win over the Houston Texans. Though Julian Edelman is still out with a broken foot, the Patriots’ offense is nearly back at full strength.

“Offensive football is always trust and anticipation and certainly there is nobody that I trust more than Gronk,” Brady said after the game. “He’s just a great player. He’s a great teammate.”

Gronkowski wasn’t on the field for his usual load of work Sunday, sitting out on 27 of 69 Patriots offensive plays. But his presence was still enough to propel the Pats to victory. When either Gronkowski or Edelman play, Brady completes 69 percent of his passes. ESPN reporter Josina Anderson brought up both of those points with Gronkowski postgame, but it’s difficult to determine whether he was paying attention to the questions. Once the number “69” slipped out of Anderson’s mouth, it seemed as if Gronk was exerting every ounce of self-restraint to not burst out into a full-fledged cackle.

Gronkowski, like any bro who’s worth his salt, thinks occurrences of the number 69 are just about the funniest thing ever. Last December, he even taped the number to the back of one of his shirts.

And here he is at the Super Bowl parade:

Just like watching Gronkowski manhandle overmatched linebackers and defensive backs, the joke never gets old. (OK, maybe it does, but that’s a small price to pay for having Gronk back in action.)