Rob Gronkowski’s Draft-Day Emotions Will Translate Well to Football Field for Patriots


May 11, 2010

Rob Gronkowski's Draft-Day Emotions Will Translate Well to Football Field for Patriots FOXBORO, Mass. — Rob Gronkowski's NFL draft experience was reminiscent of a classic scene in Old School.

Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson are standing around the kitchen talking about Mitch-A-Palooza when Ferrell's character shouts out, "I had an awesome time." With the memory still fresh of Ferrell streaking through campus, Vaughn's character rebuts, "I know that you had an awesome time. I think the entire town knows you had an awesome time."

The same can be said for Gronkowski, who walked onto the stage at Radio City Music Hall with a Patriots helmet, bear hugged commissioner Roger Goodell, danced around, put the helmet on his head and started a pseudo-mosh pit with his friends and family. Years from now, when Gronkowski is asked to relive his draft experience, someone in the room can interject, "We know you had an awesome time, Rob. The whole world knows you had an awesome time."

Hey, great for Gronkowski. He showed his human side and created one of the most exciting television clips in draft history. Players always say how this is one of the greatest moments of their lives, and Gronkowski is one of the few who basked in the emotion on stage.

"I was out there with my family and friends," Gronkowski said. "It was just a fun time. It was a great moment to celebrate, but when I get out on the field, [I'm faced with] a learning curve. I've got to be out there learning, got to be out there being serious, got to be out there getting some work done, working hard out there. So, when I get the chance, I have a little fun, but I'm also serious on the field."

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had to get creative last month to draft Gronkowski. The Patriots sent a second-round pick (No. 44 overall) and a sixth-round selection (No. 190) to Oakland in order to move up to No. 42 and snag Gronkowski, who has been labeled as the most complete tight end in the 2010 draft class. If the Patriots stayed put at No. 44, it's a virtual guarantee Gronkowski would have been drafted by the Ravens at No. 43.

At the conclusion of the NFL draft's second day, even Belichick was amused with Gronkowski's excitement level.

"I think, as we saw there in New York, he?s kind of a fun-loving guy who enjoys having a good time," Belichick said. "But he plays like that, too. He plays with a good attitude. He?s aggressive. He seems to be having fun out there, and he was a good playmaker for Arizona in the 2008 season."

Gronkowski, who is a towering 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, caught 47 passes for 672 yards and 10 touchdowns in 10 games as a sophomore in 2008, but he missed the entirety of the 2009 season after undergoing back surgery in September to fix a herniated disk and repair nerve damage. Gronkowski maintained that he felt "great" and was playing at 100 percent during his full participation at the Patriots' rookie camp two weekends ago.

It's been a good start and a fun ride for the intriguing prospect who should see plenty of action in his rookie campaign. If Gronkowski produces like he's able to, his good-times attitude will make him an instant fan favorite. And with an ability to excel on running and passing downs, Gronkowski will have every opportunity to keep those celebrations going.

"I'm just here to work on my role, whatever role I can get," Gronkowski said. "I'm always trying to get better, and whatever role I can get here is what I'm going to be doing. I'm always going to be going full speed. I'm always going to be working hard and just helping out the organization as best as I can."

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