New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski arrived at Super Bowl 50 on Wednesday and began making some media rounds, with one of his first stops on the NFL Network. He was, as usual, in good spirits.
"Man, it was definitely a successful year," Gronkowski said, answering a question from Patriots Hall of Famer Willie McGinest. "We went to the AFC championship and we had so many guys throughout the season go down with injury. Other players were stepping up and filling the void. You just have to be proud of the team. Any time you make it to the playoffs and go that far, just a few plays away from going to the Super Bowl again, it's definitely something to be proud of."
As for how long it takes to get over the loss to the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game, Gronkowski said, "It takes a while, for sure. It didn't end the way we wanted it to end. It's just not satisfying, not going to the big game. Just overall, you can't hang your head low. We had a great season. I'm proud to be part of the team every single year. You just have to move on to the next year now."
While Gronkowski is picking the Panthers in Super Bowl 50, he had praise for Denver's defense, saying it starts "with their secondary and their front four, getting to the quarterback." He also praised Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, calling him "a beast" and saying he's loved watching him over the years.
As for skipping Sunday's Pro Bowl along with six of his teammates, Gronkowski didn't hesitate.
"It's just the way it worked out. I didn't talk to anyone about it," he said of no Patriots attending. "I mean, that game might need to be changed. You can't go the whole season, AFC Championship Game, giving it all you've got and thinking you're going to hop on a flight to fly 12 hours to Hawaii that next Tuesday, when I still can't even walk because I took like 20 hits that game. I was not hopping on that plane and just be more tight, more sore when I got off, and just be miserable the whole ride. If it was changed ... I totally understand if you don't go to the playoffs, you got a few weeks off, the Pro Bowl is awesome. But it's hard to go from that game, giving it all you got in the playoffs, to go right to the Pro Bowl. You got to have your body rest, man."