BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — There’s no bad blood between Rob Gronkowski and Barry Church following the hit that landed the former in concussion protocol.
Gronkowski, who officially was cleared to play Thursday, said he doesn’t believe Church’s hit was dirty.
“It’s football,” the New England Patriots tight end said during Thursday’s Super Bowl LII media session at the Mall of America. “It is what it is. It’s a split second to make a decision, running full speed one way. I’m going the other way. It’s just part of the game. It happens. You’ve just got to move on.”
The hit in question occurred late in the first half of the AFC Championship Game two weeks ago. The Patriots rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 without the services of Gronkowski after Church, Jacksonville’s strong safety, drilled him in the side of the head with his helmet.
Church was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play, and Gronkowski left the game and did not return.
New England’s win over Jacksonville set up a date with the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday in Super Bowl LII. Though it took 11 days for him to pass concussion protocol, Gronkowski said he never doubted his status for that game.
“I knew I was going to be playing the whole time,” he said. “But I was just obviously being cautious, too. I didn’t want to jump right into it right away, and the team didn’t want to do it. I think we did the process really well.”
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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