x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Patriots' Gronkowski lives a 'dream come true'

Rob Gronkowski has scored 20 touchdowns in his short NFL career, faster than anyone who has played tight end before him. Yet he still has trouble believing he is in the NFL.

FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts // Having a quarterback like Tom Brady throwing to him, Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots should be used to catching touchdown passes by now.

He already has 20 of them in less time than any tight end in NFL history, needing just 26 games.

But there are moments when he has to remind himself how good he became so quickly.

"It's still a dream come true being in the NFL," Gronkowski said. "Some days I'll wake up, I talk to Dane [Fletcher], my roommate, and we're like, 'Dude, we're in the NFL'. It's crazy still. We still can't kind of believe it."

His production in just two NFL seasons is hard to believe.

Gronkowski surpassed Mike Ditka's mark of 31 for the fewest games needed by a tight end to reach 20 touchdowns. He also pulled within three of the single-season, tight end record of 13 touchdown receptions held by Antonio Gates of San Diego and Vernon Davis of San Francisco.

"He catches the ball great," Brady said. "He's tough. He runs well. He blocks. He really does everything you ask a tight end to do.

"He's dangerous out there."

Coming tomorrow in 'THE NATIONAL': Previews of the NFL Thanksgiving Day games Green Bay at Detroit, Miami at Dallas and San Francisco at Baltimore