In a piece now posted on ESPNBoston.com, Jackie MacMullan writes an in-depth profile on budding star Rob Gronkowski. The headline of the piece: "It's good to be Gronk."
MacMullan takes the reader deep into Gronkowski's world, introducing you to parents Gordon and Diane, while telling stories from the different points of Gronkowski's football journey. Some of Gronkowski's greatest personal struggles, like when he moved away from his mother for his final year of high school, are highlighted.
Overall, MacMullan comes to the conclusion that Gronkowski is "still just a big kid who loves his mom, playing football and having a blast."
Did you see that? It has been a common refrain throughout the brief and glorious career of New England's prolific 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end, who, in tandem with the golden arm of Tom Brady, will lead the Patriots against the dangerously unpredictable Denver Broncos on Saturday night.
Whether driving defenders into a fence 10 yards past the field, as he did in high school, or snagging 12 catches for 143 yards and a touchdowns against Oregon, as he did at the University of Arizona, or scoring touchdowns for New England with bruising NFL defenders clinging to him like pieces of lint, Gronk has turned heads with his ferocious intensity and disarming grin.
He has melded greatness with goofiness, developing a reputation as a Pro Bowl talent with a free-spirited, frat boy mentality. Who has more fun than Gronk?
MacMullan also relays stories like these:
"Rob's a very serious player on the football field, but like a lot of kids, he's a happy-go-lucky guy, and that's led to some suspect choices at times," said Mike Stoops, Gronkowski's coach at Arizona. "Rob likes to have fun. He's not a malicious kid at all. He's just a little quirky."
Stoops said that after Gronkowski's pre-draft interview with the Patriots, Belichick called Stoops with some reservations.
"I think Coach Belichick was thinking, 'What the heck is this kid all about?'" Stoops said. "I told him, 'The kid is smart, tougher than hell, and more competitive than just about any player I've been around.' I told him that Rob might be the best tight end I've ever seen."
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