As the NFL Draft wound down last Saturday, Bills coach Rex Ryan picked up the phone and made a call to undrafted Kansas State fullback/tight end Glenn Gronkowski.
Ryan wanted Gronkowski to know the Bills wanted him, and not just for his last name.
“I recruited him, there’s no question,” Ryan said at the Bills rookie minicamp Friday, per the team-released transcript. “At the end of the draft I called him up and recruited him myself because I really liked him when I saw him as a player. And then I guess the family was in the background, so, I had a couple of parting shots.”
Glenn becomes the fourth Gronkowski brother to play in the NFL. Rob Gronkowski — dominant during the season, generally shirtless otherwise — is the best-known of the bunch and the best player, and Ryan almost always uses two defenders on him when his teams play the Patriots.
“I think Rob was proud of his brother obviously and him getting the opportunity to play here,” Ryan said.
The Bills list Glenn Gronkowski at 6-foot-3, 234, meaning he’s about three inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter than his big brother. Glenn Gronkowski is getting tight end reps this weekend because the Bills don’t have a true tight end in their rookie camp. He’ll likely play fullback and special teams in his bid to make the roster, and Ryan says he’ll be watching him closely.
“I love the way he played,” Ryan said. “They did a lot with him at Kansas State but obviously he’s got the bloodlines. But it’s more than that. It’s the style of play and I look at him as a guy that, you know, I’m expecting big things from.
“Can he contribute on special teams, can he be a backup fullback, use him at different things, backup tight end? We’ll see. He’s going to get the opportunity to prove it. But I would not be surprised if he does very well.”