If you don’t feel for Joe Vellano, then you’re probably a terrible person.
His house burned down and the New England Patriots cut him in a short span. The defensive tackle, who was on the Patriots most recent Super Bowl winning squad, lost everything — including his Super Bowl ring.
Vellano is now living in Atlanta as he is a member of the Falcons practice squad. But distance did not prevent a former teammate of his, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, from reaching out.
“We were friends for the last three years, so we are good friends,” Vellano told ESPN. “He just said to me, ‘Anything I can do to help?’ and stuff like that. It’s kind of a crazy, weird time. I’m just trying to put all things together right now.”
It makes sense though: Vellano, who the Patriots signed as an undrafted free agent in 2013, played football with Dan Gronkowski, at Maryland. He was also teammates with Dean Muhtadi, WWE wrestler Mojo Rawley — a friend of Gronk’s.
Something like this just goes to show there are still good people in the world and these athletes have lives outside the game. It’s definitely been a tough time for Vellano and he has people who care in his life. Sure, it might be one of the game’s biggest stars in Rob Gronkowski, but they’re human — even if they don’t look it on the field sometimes.
On a side note, it will be tough for the Patriots week one with Gronk out, Tom Brady out and Rob Ninkovich out — among others. Would have to figure Gronk would be a key tool for Jimmy G. because the Pats probably aren’t trusting him to throw the deep ball. And while Gronk might have some deep grabs, he’s capable of doing things short — like any other tight end.