If you think Rob Gronkowski is goofy now, you can imagine how he was a decade ago.
Next Thursday will mark the 10-year anniversary of the Patriots drafting Gronkowski, who cemented himself as one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history over the course of a nine-season stint in New England. But as a handful of both past and present Patriots scouts and coaches recently revealed to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, Gronk didn’t exactly scream “future Hall of Famer” entering the 2010 draft.
Among those interviewed by Howe was Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson, who was New England’s director of college scouting when the franchise drafted Gronkowski. During a pre-draft meeting with the five-time Pro Bowl selection, Robinson was left particularly baffled by one answer from Gronk.
“I can remember it like it was yesterday,” Robinson told Howe. “He was sitting across from me. We?re trying to talk about football. I?m trying to get to know him a little better, make my notes on him. I said, ‘What do you like to do besides football?’ A lot of guys say different things. Most of them play video games, or watch movies or read books. He?s like, ‘I like to watch cartoons.’ I?m like, OK. I said, ‘What do you like to watch?’ He goes, ‘SpongeBob.’ And then the Gronk laugh. I?m like, you?ve got to be kidding me. I?m bringing this guy up to Bill (Belichick) every other day, and he?s telling me he likes to watch SpongeBob. I?m (thinking), I?ve got no chance, Rob, you?ve got to help me out here.”
Yup, that checks out.
It’s safe to say the Patriots made a wise choice spending the 42nd overall pick in 2010 on Gronkowski, who was a part of three Super Bowl-winning teams in New England.
While Gronk undoubtedly has matured over the years, his one-of-a-kind personality has paved the way for quite the post-NFL career.