FOXBORO, Mass. — Rob Gronkowski is well-versed in the language of the Patriot Way, but he’s also human.
He knows Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey recently deemed him overrated — “I don’t think Gronk is as great as people think he is” — and said the New England Patriots tight end struggles against elite cornerbacks.
So, no, Gronkowski won’t be sending Ramsey any holiday cards this year.
“I don’t have his (phone) number and he doesn’t have mine,’ Gronkowski said Wednesday.
As for what he thought of Ramsey’s trash talk, Gronk initially gave the corporate line.
“If that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels,” the Patriots tight end said. “Big game this Sunday, we’re playing them, I’m sure I’m going to have an opportunity to go against him. I’m sure he’s going to have an opportunity to go against me. So, I’m just preparing like I always prepare.”
But when pressed on whether Ramsey’s words motivate him, Gronkowski relented.
“Sure. There’s always motivation you’re looking for,” he said.
” … It does and it doesn’t, you know what I mean? Because, I mean, it motivates you to hear that. Obviously there’s something out there that he saw on film and stuff that I could probably get better at football in certain categories.
“You don’t always feel the best every single day when you’re on the field. So, if that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels.”
Gronkowski then was asked about that “elite cornerback” dig, and the fact that his catch percentage drops from 71 percent when he’s lined up on the slot to 56 percent when he lines up on the perimeter opposite a corner.
“That’s some good percentages still,” Gronk countered.
One could argue Ramsey “won” the previous matchup, as Gronkowski tallied just one catch on three targets in last season’s AFC Championship Game before leaving in the first half with a concussion.
The All-Pro tight end will aim to gain the upper hand in Round 2 this Sunday in Jacksonville, and while he’s not above a little spirited jawing, he’s cognizant of Ramsey — whom he puts “right up there” with the NFL’s best trash-talkers — trying to bait him into a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
“There can always be talking going back and forth, tempers getting heated up and everything,” Gronkowski said. “You’ve just got to keep your cool, and I don’t see any benefit to getting a 15-yard penalty out on the field because you lose your cool. So, you’ve just got to keep your cool and keep your head on straight.”
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images