Rob Gronkowski‘s much bigger than most of the people covering him, so he understands why the grab and hold him.
In fact, he’d do the same thing if he was in their shoes.
The Patriots tight end said he’s come to expect teams clutching and grabbing him downfield, in some effort to slow him down. He didn’t draw any defensive holding calls last week against the Chiefs, and was limited to two catches for 33 yards.
“If I was one of those DBs, and you’ve seen film over the last few years, I would definitely be doing that if I was a DB — 100 percent,” Gronkowski said, via Phil Perry of CSNNE.com. “You don’t really see it called ever, so I’ve just got to play with it. Play how the game is called. If I was a DB, I’d do that, too.”
Of course, because he’s bigger than any defensive back who will cross his path, he’s more easily spotted if he tries to push off. That keeps him from the quid pro qou sometimes, but he said he tries to keep from thinking about it.
“I feel like whenever I think about that — ‘I can’t be physical because of the referee, I might get a penalty’ — I actually feel myself off my game,” he said. “So I feel like I should just play my game and just [not] worry about what the refs call, and be physical.
“I don’t like thinking, ‘I can’t be physical on this play.’ You just don’t feel right. I’m just going to stick to my game and just do what I got to do, and do it better.”
The Saints can’t offer anyone nearly as good as Chiefs safety Eric Berry, and after a slow Week One, the chances for Gronkowski to bounce back — and bounce off defensive backs — are better.