FOXBORO, Mass. — Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White ripped Rob Gronkowski on Thursday, calling the New England Patriots tight end “a dirty player” and his one-game suspension “a joke.”
White had every reason to be angry: He was on the receiving end of the cheap shot that earned Gronkowski his punishment. The Bills rookie spent four days in concussion protocol before being cleared Thursday.
Multiple Patriots players, however, disputed the accusation that Gronkowski is a dirty player.
“I won’t respond directly to Tre’Davious, but I’ll definitely defend the character of Rob,” fellow Patriots tight end Dwayne Allen said Thursday afternoon. “Rob is a guy who’s a tremendous player, a high-character guy who comes to work, who loves his teammates, who loves playing the game of football and goes about playing the game the right way.”
Allen added: “I’ve only had one year with Rob, but everything that Rob has shown me this year has shown me a guy who loves the game of football, who goes about playing it the right way and would not want to harm anyone.”
Gronkowski was one of three NFL players suspended for illegal hits this past weekend. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Cincinnati Bengals safety George Iloka both received one-game bans, as well, though Iloka’s was reduced to a fine after an appeal.
“It’s tough to comment on that, because all of this stuff is just bad,” Patriots safety Duron Harmon said. “But I’ve known Gronk for five years now. Gronk is not only a tremendous football player, but a tremendous teammate — would do anything for you, always has a smile on his face, always doing the right thing. At that moment, it didn’t happen, but I wouldn’t call Gronk a dirty player. It was just a bad situation.”
The suspension, which will force Gronkowski to sit out Monday night’s game against the Miami Dolphins, was the first of the 28-year-old’s eight-year pro career.
“It’s just something out of character,” Harmon said. “Something that he doesn’t do at all, except that time. But all you can do is just learn from it and move on from it. Staying in the past and just trying to go back and forth, that’s not going to do anything. Learn from it, move forward, and when he gets his opportunity to play again, play well.”
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