Patriots

Rob Gronkowski gives fascinating view on how physicality of NFL impacts players

Rob Gronkowski gives fascinating view on how physicality of NFL impacts players

Rob Gronkowski takes as many bone-jarring hits as any NFL player, and the New England Patriots tight end knows that type of physical toll can really wear players down mentally and physically throughout a season.

Gronkowski spoke to reporters Wednesday ahead of his team's Super Bowl LIII matchup with the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, and he gave an honest, insightful view of how the physicality of pro football impacts players and teams. 

"The season's a grind. It's up and down. I'm not going to lie and sit here and say every week is the best," Gronkowski said. "Not at all. You go up, you go down. You can take some serious hits. To tell you the truth, just try and imagine getting hit all the time and trying to be where you want to be every day in life. It's tough, it's difficult. To take hits to the thigh, take hits to your head. Abusing your body isn't what your brain wants. When your body is abused, it can bring down your mood. You've got to be able to deal with that, too, throughout the season. You gotta be able to deal with that in the games.

"And no one realizes that, and everyone expects us players to be wide awake every single day, and it's like 'yo, i just took 50 hits to my head -- or not to my head, but I'm saying I just took 50 collisions, and then like the next day everyone wants you to be up. They want practice full speed, next week they want the game to be full speed, but they don't understand sometimes what players are going through with their bodies, with their minds. That's why I've been saying you see a shift in players in games where people are down the whole game, and then you see, all of a sudden, the next week it's like 'how did this team just go from one switch to the other?'"

There have been reports throughout the season that Gronkowski could consider retirement after Sunday's Super Bowl. He's 29 years old and has dealt with many injuries throughout his nine-year career. Gronk hasn't played a full 16-game regular season since 2011 and has missed 29 games over the last seven years. 

Gronkowski hasn't committed to retiring or returning for the 2019 campaign. When asked Wednesday about retirement, Gronkowski replied "yes, no, maybe so."

His future certainly will be a major storyline regardless of the outcome Sunday, but judging by these comments, it wouldn't be a surprise at all if he decides to walk away from the game before injuries and big hits take an even harder toll on his body. 

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Julian Edelman pumped for Patriots camp to begin: 'School's back in session'

Julian Edelman pumped for Patriots camp to begin: 'School's back in session'

Julian Edelman warmed up for training camp Saturday by putting on a clinic in near 100-degree heat.

The Patriots wide receiver helped conduct his football clinic for about 600 boys and girls at Lincoln-Sudbury High School about 40 minutes north of Foxboro. The Super Bowl MVP compared Pats camp, which begins Thursday at Gillette Stadium, to school being back in session.

“I’m extremely excited for the new year. This is a new team. Training camp coming up, this is kind of like when school’s back in session," Edelman told reporters. "We had summer break, [now] you get to see all the fellas. This is where you learn your team and learn each other and become accountable for each other and work hard together and create a consistency together."

The undisputed veteran of a Patriots receiving corps that is short on big names beside himself, Edelman, 33, is ready to mentor young receivers, such as first-round pick N'Keal Harry. 

“This is like the beginning shape form of your team, these next few weeks. It’s a crucial point. We put a lot of hard work in during the spring, and the next step to playing other teams, so it’s definitely exciting.”

With tight end Rob Gronkowski retired, Edelman takes center stage as Tom Brady's favorite target. He led all Pats receivers with 850 yards in the regular season despite an NFL-imposed PED suspension that kept him out of the first four games. His 10-catch, 141-yard performance against the Rams in Super Bowl 53 earned him game MVP honors.

Starting Thursday, he'll lead a receiver group that includes few familiar names: Phillip Dorsett returns, Braxton Berrios is back from the practice squad, Harry is a top draft pick and free-agent signees Demaryius Thomas, Dontrelle Inman and Maurice Harris are among those who've been added. 

Albert Breer: Two reasons why Tyreek Hill was not suspended

Albert Breer: Two reasons why Tyreek Hill was not suspended

Albert Breer gives his two reasons he thinks Tyreek Hill was not suspended by the NFL.

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