As has been the storyline for quite some time now, Rob Gronkowski is planning his return to the football field. After numerous season ending injuries including last years torn ACL, many are reminded why Gronkowski dropped to the 2nd round of the 2010 NFL draft. For a 6’6″, 265 lb tight end, he is certainly fragile.
For those who don’t remember, Gronkowski missed a full season at Arizona in 2009 following back surgery and many thought he would not be the same. In 2011, Gronkowski (with an assist from Bernard Pollard) suffered a high ankle sprain and potentially cost the Patriots a Super Bowl win. Then in 2012, Gronkowski broke his left forearm blocking on an extra point attempt. After an infection and 4 total surgeries, the forearm was healed, but Gronk’s back was another story. He required another surgery and was finally cleared to play on October 20th. Less than 2 months later, Gronkowski tore his ACL and MCL against the Browns. This is the last memory Patriots fans have of Gronkowski on the field.
Most would blame Gronkowski’s injury history on his aggressive and brutal playing style, which is what makes him (arguably) the best TE in the NFL. As Patriots fans realize they will need a healthy Gronkowski on the field to make any sort of run for a Super Bowl, some argue that Gronk should alter his playing style to be more cautious. Similar arguments have been made for players like RGIII, but playing tight end (and being dominant at tight end) requires that style of play that Rob Gronkowski represents.
Fortunately for all Gronkowski fans, the 25 year old won’t be changing his style of play anytime soon. While he is self-admittidly not 100%, he has been cleared to practice and is likely not going to start the 2014 season on the PUP list. Gronkowski refuses to let his injury history limit him.
“Nah, I ain’t changing that one bit,” he told WEEI of his playing style. “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. 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.”
Gronkowski’s health will be the center of focus this offseason and going into 2014 but his playing style is what has made Gronk, Gronk. And the NFL is a much better place with Gronkowski in it.