“I’m gonna go full-speed when I’m out there, and I’m gonna keep smashing and dashing everything I do. Maybe, if it’s not necessary one single bit, I’ll go down, but if I can make some plays, make some extra yards, [and] get in the end zone, I’m definitely gonna go full-speed, and I’m gonna take the hits, and I’m gonna do everything I can.”
– New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski
If there’s anybody in the NFL that I’m worried about getting injured, it’s Rob Gronkowski. I don’t care if a doctor tells me he’s the healthiest, most-fit man in the world; I’ll still be expecting him to fall over with a broken something. I mean, would it be against the rules if Gronk played in a bubble? He already is looking like a cyborg with all of those clunky braces. Maybe he can just go full robot?
In all seriousness, though, every time Gronk comes into contact with another player I think he’s going to end up falling into a clump, rolling in pain. So what can we do? Apparently, in Gronk’s mind, he’s not changing a thing.
“When I start rolling and getting contact, I’m pretty sure I won’t have any fear at that moment because that’s what we’re working here for: to get myself ready,” said Gronkowski, “to get my knee right, getting everything strengthened around it, so when I do hit the field, when I do start hitting, when I do start getting tackled, I’m out there ready to go and I’m not thinking about it in the back of my head.”
And as for those clunky braces we see Gronk sporting, he says they aren’t really affecting him.
“I’m used to the arm brace now, it’s been a year now wearing that, so It’s second [nature] wearing that thing around,” said Gronkowski. “The knee brace just started today, but today’s the second day out there, and I’m already getting comfortable with everything, so it’s feeling good out there, running routes, getting balls thrown, and it just feels great to be out there with my teammates again, being in the huddle, catching balls from Tom Brady.”
I’m sure Brady enjoys having Gronk in that huddle too. Last season, when Gronk wasn’t in the lineup, Brady’s numbers took a big dip:
Brady with Gronk: 64.1 percent completion/ 13 TDs/ 5 INTs/ 95.8 passer rating
Brady without Gronk: 57.6 percent completion/ 12 TDs/ 6 INTs/ 80.3 passer rating
“It’s a team game,” said Gronkowski. “We all rely on each other to the max. If one person’s not doing their job, then the whole team’s not doing their job. We’re all a big part of the offense, every single player that’s out there at the same time.”
Follow Michael Jaycox at @MilkyMike
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