Alge Crumpler thinks very highly of Rob Gronkowski, and he has ever since the New England Patriots star’s rookie year.
But Crumpler, a former Patriots tight end himself, isn’t ready to label the recently retired Gronkowski the greatest tight end of all time.
The 41-year-old was with the Patriots for his final season, which doubled as Gronkowski’s first in the NFL. During a recent appearance on “The Lefkoe Show,” Crumpler talked at length about the tight end “G.O.A.T” debate as well as his first impressions of Gronkowski.
?No, I don?t believe in the argument,” Crumpler said when asked whether Gronkowski is the best in the history of the position.. “I feel like when you have that argument there?s people chipping away at you. It?s like he?s great. I don?t need somebody to argue with me about Magic Johnson being the greatest of all time, or Larry Bird the greatest of all time.?
As for Crumpler’s experience with a then-21-year-old Gronk, it sounds like he was far from the only one who knew the Arizona product was destined for greatness.
?Very special,” he said. “I remember scrimmaging the New Orleans Saints, they came to our practice facility and he?s a rookie just destroying some of the 8-, 9-, 10-year veterans and they are yelling at me, ?Crump, get your boy. Get your boy. He ain?t supposed to be doing all that.? It didn?t phase Gronk. He was going after all those guys.?
Crumpler added: ?People hear about the blocking, but they never highlight his blocking. I have never seen them highlight Gronk pancake a guy. But I?ve seen Bill Belichick highlight every single week on a Monday when we?re reviewing film.?
Of course, the big question is whether Gronkowski truly is retired for good. As of right now, it’s hard to make a case for Gronkowski being definitively better than either Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates, championships aside.
But if he returns, looks like vintage Gronk and leads New England to another Super Bowl (some big “ifs”), the conversation will be over.