Tom Brady usually isn’t one for hyperbolic praise, especially during interviews with local radio stations.
But the New England Patriots quarterback made an exception for Rob Gronkowski.
The morning after Gronkowski went off for seven catches, 123 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots’ 27-20 win over the Houston Texans, Brady claimed the All-Pro tight end might be the best ever to play his position.
“He’s just a spectacular player, so you have to give those guys opportunities,” Brady said Monday morning on WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan” during his weekly radio interview. “(The Texans) did a good job on him, just trying to keep him out of the game. But it is tough because he’s so talented.
“He’s the best tight end in the league — probably the best to ever play the game.”
Gronkowski scored the first touchdown of the Patriots’ season in the first quarter and made an absolutely spectacular grab in double coverage late in the first half. He terrorized Houston down the middle of the field and was a clear difference-maker in the passing game.
“When you have that guy on your team, you have to give him looks,” Brady added. “We did and he came up big for us. Made the catches. He’s so well-rounded. He blocks so well in the run game. He runs every route, every part of the field — short, intermediate, deep, inside, outside, takes hits, runs after the catch, third-down, first-down, red area.”
The only knock on Gronk is his injury history: He’s missed at least one game in each of the last six seasons and 10 in the last two seasons.
But when he’s on the field, it’s hard to argue with Brady’s bold statement. The 29-year-old has 77 touchdown receptions in 103 games and was the fifth-fastest player to reach 70 TDs. (All four players in front of him are wide receivers.) His 70.9 receiving yards per game are the most of any tight end in NFL history and rank 23rd on the NFL’s all-time list.
Gronkowski essentially puts up elite wide receiver numbers in a tight end’s body while also playing a crucial blocking role in the run game. So, we’re with Brady: As long as Gronk is on the field, it’s hard to think of a tight end in NFL history who impacts the game the way he does.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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