Surging Patriots Defender Has Internet Buzzing With Viral Video

New England corner Christian Gonzalez is looking to bounce back from a season-ending injury.
New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys
New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

After bursting onto the scene with standout performances in his rookie season, 2023 New England Patriots first-rounder Christian Gonzalez is primed to take the next step in his second season under new head coach Jerod Mayo.

Gonzalez's first season was ending prematurely after he suffered a season-ending torn labrum and dislocated shoulder in New England's fourth game of the season. In his first (and only) full month of NFL action, Gonzalez was honored with Defensive Rookie of the Month for September.

Gonzalez played his entire rookie season at 21 and turned 22 only last month, generating a lot of hope that the Oregon product is only scratching the surface of his potential.

The uncertainty about how he would respond to a season-ending injury brought some worry, but Gonzalez has youth on his side and a recently posted video of his offseason workouts should bring some Patriots fans some optimism.

A starter in each of the Pats' first four games, the 17th overall pick earned a Pro Football Focus grade of 80.8 in his truncated season. Gonzalez's breakout performance came on Sunday Night Football in Week 2 when he held Miami Dolphins superstar wide receiver Tyreek Hill in check, earning praise from the eight-time Pro Bowler postgame. Gonzalez also recorded the first interception of his career in that game off of Tua Tagovailoa on a pass intended for Hill.

Speaking in early May, he provided a positive update on his injury return:

"I'm good. Healthy, excited to go. Focused on just getting better, coming in every day and just keep getting back to work."

Christian Gonzalez on May 7

Gonzalez comes from quite the athletic pedigree. His father played semi-pro basketball after a collegiate career at the University of Texas at El Paso. His sisters Melissa and Samantha were also Division I All-Americans in track & field at the University of Texas and University of Miami, respectively. Gonzalez' brother-in-law, David Blough, was an NFL quarterback from 2019-22. Quite the collection of athletic talent at family gatherings.

When Gonzalez does take the field this season, he will be the first Patriot to rep no. 0 on the field, returning to the digit he wore at Oregon. Gonzalez wore no. 6 in his first pro season.

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