“Oh yeah, [Gronkowski] is back,” Brady confidently told reporters in Buffalo after a 37-22 win over the Bills. “Absolutely.”
After playing a limited number of snaps in the first four weeks of the season as he was recovering from a torn ACL, Gronkowski has emerged as the Gronk of years past.
Against Cincinnati in Week 5, Gronkowski had six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. On Sunday, Gronkowski recorded seven catches for 94 yards including a go-route down the right sideline where Brady delivered a perfect lob pass to him over the top. Gronkowski would have added a touchdown if not for a holding call on reserve offensive lineman Jordan Devey.
“He’s a great player and he’s playing great. So it’s great for a quarterback,” Brady said. “I have a lot of confidence in him, I love playing with that guy. Great to be out there with him.”
Gronkowski endured some big hits and displayed a level of strength we had not seen from him this season. He may have been banged up a bit after the game and took a big blow that had him slow to get up, but that’s the type of player Gronkowski is. His intensity showed.
“They were giving me some lickings,” Gronkowski said. “All you can do is get right back up and get right back in the huddle and go on to the next play. It’s part of the game and sometimes I like getting lit up.”
Gronkowski saying he likes getting lit up sometimes is a big indicator of him being back.
Gronkowski was asked if the hits he took empowered him.
“Yes, definitely,” Gronkowski said. “It’s the game of football. I’m not stepping out on that field thinking that I’m just going to be able to get out there and not get hit. No way.”
With Gronkowski taking hits and returning to form, Brady couldn’t be happier to have him back.
“He’s a great option out there,” Brady said. “So if they don’t cover him, he usually gets it. If they put extra guys on him then it frees everybody else up. He’s tough to stop. You put a safety on him, he’s got size. You put a linebacker on him, he’s got speed. He’s been that way since he got into the NFL.
“He has had a lot of touchdowns and he’s playing with confidence. And the kind of enthusiasm and energy he brings is awesome. Just adds to what Julian [Edelman] does and Shane [Vereen] does and Brandon LaFell and Danny [Amendola] and the rest of the crew. It gives everybody a lot of confidence.”