Gronk to strip down for ESPN The Magazine's 'Body Issue'

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Gronk to strip down for ESPN The Magazine's 'Body Issue'

NEW YORK Rob Gronkowski, Maurice Jones-Drew, Tyson Chandler and Abby Wambach are among the athletes who will strip down to pose nnude in ESPN The Magazine's fourth annual "Body Issue."

Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista, New York Rangers forward Brad Richards and WNBA star Candace Parker will also appear in the July 13 edition.

With the London Games this summer, the list announced Wednesday is heavy with Olympians, including gymnast Danell Leyva, sprinter Carmelita Jeter, decathlete Ashton Eaton and members of the U.S. women's volleyball team.

The magazine's editor in chief, Chad Millman, says they try to pick athletes who "just recently popped."

Gronkowski is a classic example of that. The New England Patriots tight end emerged as one of the NFL's biggest offensive stars this past season and it doesn't hurt that he has a penchant for appearing shirtless in photos. The magazine had a commitment from him way back last fall.

Athletes featured in previous years have included Blake Griffin, Hope Solo and Jose Reyes.

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL


Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”