Rob Gronkowski, like the rest of the world, is ready for Deflategate to go away. In an interview with ESPN after it was announced that he would grace the cover of Madden NFL 17, the Patriots tight end touched on the topic of his quarterback's four-game suspension.
"It was actually a surprise -- a surprise to everyone," Gronkowski said, referring to the decision made by the Second Circuit court to reinstate Tom Brady's league-imposed ban. "I thought it was totally done. It was crazy just even seeing that happen again. It's kind of getting stupid, getting to the point where it's at now -- why it's still going on and all."
Gronkowski is confident, though, that Brady will be on the field for Week 1 of the 2016 season. Whether that's because a court has overturned Brady's suspension for a second time, or because Brady's appeal has granted him a stay on the suspension, Gronkowski didn't specify.
He also probably doesn't care all that much as long as his quarterback is out there with him on the field.
"I feel like he's going to be playing 16 games again," Gronkowski said. "I feel that's the way that it's been going on, and that's the way it's going to work . . . It's the same thing as last year. It's kind of just dragging on.
"It's pretty stupid to the point where it's at -- that it hasn't been resolved yet. But everyone just keeps on grinding. You've got to focus on what you've got to focus on. Myself, what I've got to focus on, is becoming the best player I can be in the offseason right now."
If Brady misses any time, third-year backup Jimmy Garoppolo would likely be the player to step in and take the starter's job. The Patriots also selected a quarterback in the third round of this year's draft, North Carolina State's Jacoby Brissett.
"No matter who's at quarterback," Gronkowski said, "you've got to be prepared and be ready to help out the team."