FOXBORO, Mass. — Every football player dreams of scoring touchdowns. But for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, there’s nothing quite like a good, hard, bone-crushing hit.
Hitting was what turned Gronkowski on to football in the first place, he explained to a throng of media members before Friday’s practice, fondly recalling his days on the JV team at Williamsville North High School in upstate New York.
“Every time someone got a big hit, everyone went crazy,” Gronkowski said. “You know how in high school, getting a big hit was better than a touchdown? Everyone would go crazy. That’s when you fall in love with the game, when someone on your team or yourself would get a big hit — pancake the guy or knock him down. Everyone would go crazy.”
Gronkowski said he still vividly remembers his teammates’ reactions from some of the licks he saw or handed out in high school, and he still gets giddy over the sight of an opponent being knocked on his behind.
“Oh, no doubt,” he said. “Brandon Bolden’s hit last week on special teams — when I saw that, I flipped out. That was a big hit.”
Even when he’s the one getting planted into the turf, Gronkowski can appreciate a good hit.
“I’ve gotten them before on myself,” he said. “I do them every game — big hits. When I get up, I’m like, ‘Ohh.’ It kind of refreshens you, like, ‘Oh, you’ve got to keep bringing it hard.’ That’s what’s so special about the game is how hard you can go. You can take whatever you have built up and just go full speed at someone and level them, and they can do that to you. You’ve got to be ready at all times. That’s what makes the game so great.”
With the Patriots facing off against safety Kam Chancellor and the rest of the Seattle Seahawks’ Legion of Boom next Sunday in Super Bowl XLIX, there should be more than enough hits to go around.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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