Rob Gronkowski has quite the reputation in the NFL. Not only is he known as someone who likes to have a good time, party and take his shirt off while dancing on tables but he is also one of the premier tight ends in the game. He’s also had a hard time staying healthy. And it goes back to his days in college as well. Gronk had back issues coming out of Arizona that caused him to slide to the Patriots in the second round. An ankle injury in 2011 caused him to have offseason surgery. This past year he broke his arm twice and underwent three surgeries. There’s no denying the talents of the 23 year old touchdown machine but given the departure of Wes Welker this offseason, the pressure for Gronk to produce and most importantly stay on the field, has increased.
Rob Gronkowski joined ESPN Radio New York with Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco to talk about people being upset with his partying because they want him to stay healthy, what his reaction was when he heard about Wes Welker leaving for Denver, if seeing the business side of football in the Welker situation makes things easier for him when his time approaches and how he would respond to having a gay teammate.
Whether he understand why people are upset with his partying or off-field behavior:
“Yes, yes. I agree. Just can’t hurt myself. Have to be ready and 100 percent when it comes down to the season.”
On his reaction when he heard about Wes Welker leaving for Denver:
“At first you’re always shocked whenever moves like that happen in the NFL. You’re always like ‘wow.’ But you’re used to it now too. There’s teams out there every single month, every single year that you see the best veteran player on the team get cut, get traded or whatever it is. All I can do now as a player is move forward on. He’s going to be missed. He’s a great guy, a great teammate and a great player. He worked very hard. Now I have to just keep working very hard and I have to keep on doing what I’m doing and trying to improve myself. Be a good teammate, be on the team, going out every practice working hard and going out to practice and doing things right now.”
If seeing the business side of football will make his future decision easier when it’s time for him to stay or move on:
“Right now, where I’m at in my career, I’m not even really worried about it. The only thing I care about is that I’m on the football field, I’m out there playing and I’m out there with my teammates going full-out. Being out at practice, being out at games and as of right now I’m on the Patriots, I’m having a blast on the team. I love the Patriots and I love the organization. To tell you the truth, I haven’t ever once thought of the NFL as a business yet, the way I’m in it and the stage I’m at in the NFL. But I haven’t really thought about it in the future yet, so when it comes down to that time I can answer that question better, but as of right now I’m having a blast being on the team and trying to win some games.”
How he would feel if an active player admitted he was gay:
“I got this question before, about a year ago, and I basically said the same answer that I did a year ago. You have to accept the player. Everyone has their own ways to live their life and as long as he’s respecting me, keeping distance, respecting myself then I will respect him back. If he’s being a great teammate and he’s a guy on the field doing a great job then you have nothing to complain about. He’s another teammate and another friend.”
Whether he has confidence that other players in the NFL would feel the same way:
“I’m not really sure. I never went around asking players on my team or in the NFL, ‘hey what would you think if someone on our team is gay? How would you take it?’ Never thought of that and never asked anyone that and never tried to find out if there is one on the team. If someone is on my team and they are a great teammate and a great player on the field, helping the team win that’s all you can ask for.”