FOXBORO, Mass. — Rob Gronkowski endured nine months of arduous rehab to strengthen his surgically repaired right knee because of one low hit from T.J. Ward.
The two will share the field once again Sunday when Ward’s Denver Broncos visit Gillette Stadium to play Gronkowski’s New England Patriots.
Gronkowski appears fully healed now, after tearing his ACL last December, but even a month ago, the big tight end seemed like a shell of himself. He enters the Patriots’ toughest matchup of the season coming off his best outing — a nine-catch, 149-yard, three-touchdown show last Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
Gronkowski was asked Wednesday if he harbors any feelings toward Ward after the then-Cleveland Browns safety went low and took out his knee. The tight end changed the subject.
“Just going out there and playing like I play every game,” Gronkowski said. “Just going out there trying to make some plays, do my job out there on the field and be ready and prepared to my maximum ability.”
Has Ward reached out to the tight end since the hit?
“Nah,” Gronkowski replied.
Gronkowski didn’t want to talk about Ward, but he had plenty of praise for the Broncos, calling them “the best team in the NFL right now.”
“They have a very solid offense, a very very solid defense, great rushers, so very good team,” he said.
Photo via Steven Senne/Associated Press