x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Rob Gronkowski a tour de force

The Patriot's exuberant style of play has even inspired a sporting term.

Rob Gronkowski, No 87, the New England Patriots tight end, has been hard to contain.
Rob Gronkowski, No 87, the New England Patriots tight end, has been hard to contain.

While much of the NFL universe obsesses with getting Tebowed, fans in New England focus on a catchphrase associated with one of the Patriots.

Get Gronk'd.

It means ramping up one's excitement level. Nobody gets Gronk'd like the man who inspired the expression, the Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski.

Much like fellow second-year pro Tim Tebow, Gronkowski, emboldened by a 265-pound frame, fears no contact. Nor does he rein in his exuberance.

After scoring in a game at Green Bay, Gronkowski spotted a Patriots fan and, borrowing from the Packers' playbook, executed a Lambeau Leap into the stands.

His spikes after touchdowns are almost forceful enough to wedge the ball in the ground. After he was fined for an overenthusiastic one, Gronkowski promised to put more oomph into the next.

Ample opportunity has availed itself. Two touchdown catches from Tom Brady last Sunday lifted his total to 16 - a record for a tight end, with three games to further separate himself.

"He's one of the most versatile that I've come across in my career," Andre Carter, the veteran Patriots defensive end, told The Boston Globe. "Some tight ends, technically they are [just] a receiver. Gronk is the true epitome of the tight end."

Brian Waters, the Patriots guard who spent most of his career in Kansas City with Tony Gonzalez, whose recent ascension to No 2 all-time for receptions, has drawn attention to the position.

"As much as I love Tony, and I think he's the best ever, I never saw Tony do some of the things I'm seeing him do," Waters said of Gronkowski, whom he calls a "freak of nature". He added: "It's an amazing thing to watch."

Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots, is among Gronkowski's fans. "He's the type of kid that never seems to have a bad day," he said.

There have been few so far on football Sundays and Mondays, giving the popular Patriots' fans reason to get Gronk'd.

sports@thenational.ae