BOSTON — Now that tight end Rob Gronkowski has been officially eliminated from the Madden 13 cover bracket, he can admit what many Patriots fans were frantically thinking.

"There's a curse," Gronkowski said. "You think I wanted that?"

The Madden curse has struck a number of players. Last year's cover athlete, former Browns running back Peyton Hills, had a poor 2011 season. Hillis was derailed by injuries and a lousy attitude that caused teammates to turn on him and his organization to balk at a contract extension before letting him leave town.

But Gronkowski campaigned like crazy to win the cover vote before he was eliminated last week by Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson. So, on the heels of his curse comment, Gronkowski was asked about his aggressive campaign to land on the cover.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be on the cover of Madden, but I knew it was going to be tough, especially being a tight end and everything," Gronkowski said. "But it was just fun going out for the campaign and getting all the way to the final eight. But unfortunately, I lost that round. No big deal to me. Just move on, and I'm excited for the season now."

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