Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski’s right knee is feeling well enough that the Patriots felt confident that he didn’t need to start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, but Gronkowski said Friday that isn’t the same thing as being 100 percent.
Gronkowski expects to be limited in practice when the team is in full pads as he works to make sure he’s totally healthy in time for the first game of the season. That wasn’t the case last year, when Gronkowski’s back and forearm surgeries conspired to keep him off the field early in the year. Once Gronkowski is fully operational, he says that the slew of injuries won’t impact his playing style.
“Nah, I ain’t changing that one bit,” Gronkowski said, via WEEI. “I’m going to go full speed when I’m out there and I’m going to keep smashing and dashing in everything I do. Maybe if it’s not necessary one single bit I’ll go down [to the ground]. But if I can make some plays and make some extra yards and get in the end zone, I’m definitely going to go full speed and do everything I can.”
While Gronkowski and the Patriots would be wise to eliminate unnecessary risks, there aren’t that many of those involved in the life of an NFL tight end who is essential to his team’s offensive success. Gronkowski is going to get hit when he has the ball, he’s going to get hit when he’s blocking and he’s going to be left in vulnerable positions while trying to catch balls, all of which are integral to doing his job and going less than 100 percent in any area is going to lead to more bad outcomes than good ones.
That may mean more injuries, but that risk comes with the rewards of having Gronkowski in the lineup.