FOXBORO, Mass. — Rob Gronkowski doesn’t care about owning the title of “best tight end in the NFL.”
Gronkowski, who earned first-team All-Pro honors last season for the fourth time in his career, declined Wednesday to weigh in on the debate over whether he or Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce deserves that crown.
“I just try to be the best I can every single week, do my job every single week,” the New England Patriots star said ahead of this Sunday’s matchup with Kelce’s Chiefs. “The rankings and all that, the comparisons, I’ll just leave that up to you guys. Whatever you guys say. I just try to do my best. I think he’s a great player, and I’ve just got to worry about what I can do to help out the team.”
Gronkowski said he doesn’t know Kelce personally — he’s met him at a few NFL events, but that’s about it — but has great respect for his talent.
“I’ve definitely seen him play before,” Gronkowski said. “I’ve seen many other tight ends play before in the league. He’s quick. He’s shifty, which is very crucial having. He knows how to get separation and get away from the defender. He’s a great player. I like watching him play when I get a chance.”
Gronkowski added: “I just think he’s a great player, and you can definitely learn from guys like that. His shiftiness is nice.”
Kelce owns the statistical advantage through five games this season, catching 28 passes for 405 yards and three touchdowns for a Kansas City offense that leads the NFL in points scored.
Gronkowski, who is regarded as the better blocker of the two, has 23 catches for 308 yards and one score, and the return of Julian Edelman and emergence of Josh Gordon for the Patriots should open up additional space for him in the passing game moving forward.
“I’ve got to pick it up,” said Gronkowski, who hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1. “I’ve got to start scoring.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick also praised Kelce’s pass-catching ability, calling him a “big, athletic receiver.”
“He’s good at everything,” Belichick said. “He’s got good speed. He’s really good after the catch, hard to tackle, good in space, he’s quick. He’s got good size. He catches the ball well, good balance. He’s a hard guy to defend.”
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said he considers Kelce the best tight end in the game, though, as he admitted, he’s biased.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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