FOXBORO -- Duron Harmon knows Rob Gronkowski. He knows what Gronkowski did to Tre'Davious White last weekend was wrong. But he also says he knows that Gronkowski isn't a dirty player.
That's how White described Gronkowski while meeting with Bills reporters on Thursday.
"It is what it is," White said. "He did what he wanted to do. He is what he did. That's all I've got to say about it."
He is what he did.
In White's mind, Gronkowski's dirty act makes him a dirty player. It was an assessment Harmon -- like Gronkowski, a Patriots captain -- didn't agree with.
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"Tough to comment on that because all of this stuff is just bad," Harmon said. "But I've known Gronk for five years now. Gronk is not only a tremendous football player but a tremendous teammate. Will do anything for you. Always has a smile on his face. Always doing the right thing. At that moment, didn't happen. But I wouldn't call Gronk a dirty player. Just a bad situation."
Harmon clearly didn't agree with Gronkowski's late hit. And he didn't make excuses for his teammate. But his point was that one instance should not define Gronkowski's reputation.
"Something out of character. Something he doesn't do at all, except that time," Harmon said. "All you can do is learn from it . . . Learn from it, move forward, and when he gets his opportunity to play again, play well."
On the latest episode of Quick Slants: The Podcast with Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry . . .
4:02 - Ryan Clark says that Tre'Davious White texted him that 'the whole hood wants Gronk'. What happens the next time Patriots play the Bills?
7:00 - What's the best way to control and limit late hits and cheap shots? Do the refs need to do a better job or do the coaches need to get to their players more?
9:00 - Why Rob Gronkowski, George Iloka, JuJu Smith-Schuster were all initially suspended the same amount of games.
11:53 - Should Gronk play in the December 24th rematch vs. Bills? Should there be any concern about late hits and player safety?
14:12 - Chris Hogan is back at practice. How effective can Hogan be after his injury? If he plays, can he help with the loss of Gronk?
17:00 - What to expect from the Dolphins down in Miami, where the Patriots have had a tough time playing.
19:00 - The latest on Malcolm Mitchell and if all hope is lost that he will come back this season.
20:05 - The Tom Brady-Josh McDaniels yelling match on the sideline. Is Brady treated differently than other players who have had outbursts like Odell Beckham and Dez Bryant?
24:18 - Is the New York Giants opening at head coach the perfect spot for Josh McDaniels?
Tre'Davious White, the Bills cornerback injured on the late hit by Rob Gronkowski, blasted Gronk's "dirty shot" that "could have broken my neck" and said the Patriots tight end's one-game suspension was "a joke."
White, who is no longer in the concussion protocol and was a limited participant in Bills practice, spoke to reporters Thursday, including ESPN Bills reporter Mike Rodak, who tweeted some of White's comments:
"Man, it's a joke, dog. Man, I don't know what to say on that," White told reporters, including Rodak. "I'm laying there. He snuck me with my back turned. He could have broken my neck. I mean, I got a son to raise. All that. People don't think about that when they just react."
More from White, via Rodak:
"I'm glad I had my mouthpiece in. I probably could've bit my tongue off. I bit my lip pretty bad. A terrible headache. It is what it is. He did what he wanted to do."
Clark refused to elaborate on a text he sent to ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark that seemed to suggest the Bills would exact revenge on Gronkowski when the Bills come to Foxboro on Christmas Eve.
"That's between me and Ryan...Nobody knows other than me," he told reporters, including Rodak.