Rob Gronkowski Aiming To Channel ‘Fire,’ ‘Passion’ In AFC Championship

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FOXBORO, Mass. — Football, perhaps more than any other sport, requires an emotional balance.

The New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts will square off in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday with a trip to Super Bowl XLIX hanging in the balance. Both teams figure to be fired up, meaning it’ll be essential for everyone to channel their emotions in a positive manner.

“You just got to go out there and play football, and definitely it’s an emotional game,” Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. “When the emotions get rolling, you’ve got to put the team first, that’s all.

“You’ve got to play with emotions. Go out there, play hard, play physical and be mentally ready. Emotions definitely come into play, but you’ve got to be emotionally ready, too, no doubt.”

The Patriots have one of the most intense leaders in the NFL in quarterback Tom Brady. New England head coach Bill Belichick, meanwhile, is far less emotional, though it’s mainly a product of his coaching style.

Gronkowski, whose emphatic end zone spikes are well-documented, has a rather sporadic demeanor, which is by design if you believe the three-time Pro Bowler.

“You don’t want to hurt the team at all, but at the same time, you want to go out there with some fire underneath you and go out there with some passion,” Gronkowski said.

Gronkowski ran roughshod over the Colts in the teams’ Week 11 matchup in Indianapolis. He caught four passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. One of the highlights was Gronkowski’s vicious block of Sergio Brown, which Gronk later said was him throwing the Colts safety “out of the club” for talking too much trash.

“I’m just excited to go out there and play the game of football, no matter who it is (against),” Gronkowski said Wednesday, downplaying the significance of the teams’ previous matchup and any lingering bad blood.

The stakes will be extremely high come Sunday. The competitive nature of the contest will be, too.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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