CLEVELAND -- Rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski was involved in two costly mistakes that hurt the Patriots in their 34-14 loss to the Browns, and he took accountability after the game.
On the Patriots' first kickoff return, which came after the Browns went up 3-0, Gronkowski was lined up in the wedge position and called for a fair catch. But at the last moment, he moved away from the ball, which was live as it hit the ground. Running back Sammy Morris attempted to recover, but the Browns got the ball and quickly turned it into a touchdown to go up 10-0.
"Just a miscommunication, we have to get that right in practice. It's not acceptable and it shouldn't be happening," he said.
Asked for more detail on the play, specifically if he was called off by Morris, Gronkowski simply called it a miscommunication.
"Definitely frustrating, but you have to put that behind you right after and keep moving on," he said.
Late in the second quarter, with the Patriots looking to close to 17-14, Gronkowski made a catch and was fighting for extra yardage at the 1-yard line when he lost the ball. The Browns recovered.
"I fumbled it. That shouldn't be happening. I should have two hands on the ball and shouldn't be letting defenders get in on the ball like that," he said. "I have to get low and get down."
Veteran tight end Alge Crumpler came to the defense of Gronkowski, cautioning one reporter from focusing too much on the rookie's mistakes.
"I don't even know why we're trying to single the young guy out," Crumpler said, adding that he has no doubt Gronkowski will respond favorably. "He's a helluva young player. Anything that happens with any of our players it affects us as a team. I would tread lightly there ...
"The only thing you can do from a situation like this is learn and move on. We have a lot of football left in this season and he has a lot of football left in his career."