Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski offered an interesting glimpse into the attitude of NFL players late on Monday night, laughing off a question about whether he had suffered a head injury and saying that he would lie about having a concussion if that’s what he had to do to keep playing.
Gronkowski went down head-first as he got into the end zone on his second touchdown Monday night against the Chiefs, landing awkwardly and looking a little shaky as he got up. Gronkowski joined the ESPN set after the game and was asked if he was dazed by his head hitting the ground, or if he could even remember it.
“I remember the moment and everything,” Gronkowski said, via Larry Brown Sports. “If I didn’t I still wouldn’t even say I didn’t. I’m trying to play this week.”
The ESPN panel of Stuart Scott, Trent Dilfer and Steve Young laughed off Gronkowski’s comments, but even if he was joking, it’s a serious issue the NFL has: Players know they won’t be allowed to play if they have concussion symptoms, and so players will mislead team medical staffs if that’s what they have to do to play.
NFL players including Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning have said that misleading the doctors is something they’d do if necessary to get onto the field. As the NFL tries to protect players from concussions, they’re protecting some players who are trying to avoid that protection.