Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will suit up for Sunday’s game against the Jets, but he will be playing with a heavy heart.

Gronkowski’s longtime friend Dana Parenteau died on Dec. 18 at age 43, and Gronkowski attended his funeral on Wednesday. The cause of death was not released.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

“It’s always tough going through a time like this,” Gronkowski said Thursday. “I definitely paid my respects, my family and everything, but now it’s a new day. I’ve just got to concentrate and be ready for my teammates, get ready for practice, and just catch up on what I missed and just make sure I stay a little bit extra today and make sure I’m just ready for the game on Sunday.”

Gronkowski dedicated last Sunday’s game against the Titans to Parenteau, who lived in Seekonk, Rhode Island. After scoring a first-quarter touchdown, Gronkowski raised his hands and looked up.

“I was just pointing up to because I know he’s up there watching,” Gronkowski said after the game. “He was at every game with my family, a close family friend. He loved the game of football, loved being at all my games, always had my back. I definitely made that score for him.”