HOUSTON -- Rob Gronkowski waited until Friday to make his first appearance of the week on Radio Row. When he did, he was welcomed by swarms of fans as reporters stood by.
"Got the jitters backstage," he said. "It was like running out of the tunnel. I haven't done that in a while."
Gronkowski has been on injured reserve since early December due to a back injury that required surgery, but he's been around his teammates this week as they prepare to take on the Falcons in Super Bowl LI without him. On Thursday night, he appeared on Conan with Tom Brady, LeGarrette Blount, Falcons defensive end Dwight Freeney and retired running back Marshawn Lynch.
SUPER BOWL LI: FRIDAY REPORT
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- Falcons concerned about Alex Mack's fibula injury
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Wherever he shows up, he brings with him his typical enthusiasm and energy, and despite his injury history it seems as though he's interested in playing a lot longer. Yet the injury history is what it is, and he has myriad off-the-field business endeavors and so it came as no surprise when he was asked about life after football.
"I don't really think about it. Every single day I'm with [Tom] Brady, and he's talking about how he's going to play six more years," Gronkowski told the crowd, per ESPN's Mike Reiss. "So, like, in my mind, how can I stop playing before Brady? I came into the league like 50 years after him. I plan on playing as long as I possibly can. I love the game of football. It's my first love. I put football first, before everything."