Rob Gronkowski wishes best for Alge Crumpler, hopes for big sophomore season
|08.01.11 at 2:16 am ET|
Rob Gronkowski had a strong enough rookie season, but now he’s looking to make an even bigger difference.
While Aaron Hernandez‘ number was a big storyline earlier in the week when the Pats acquired Chad Ochocinco, the Patriots hope to have both of their young tight ends in the spotlight as they progress through their second year in the league. Gronkowski is coming off a 10-touchdown rookie campaign, while Hernandez spent his first professional season causing matchup problems for opposing defenses.
Gronkowski, whom the Patriots selected in the second round of the 2010 draft, tied for seventh in the league in receiving touchdowns, but in speaking with the media Sunday at Gillette Stadium, he didn’t give the impression that he was satisfied. If people are going to look at his rookie year and expect even bigger production this coming year, he’ll embrace it. After all, he’s doing the same.
“Expectations raise every year you [play] in the league. I’m not going into my second year and lowering my expectations,” Gronkowski said. “Obviously not. So obviously my expectations are higher, and hopefully the coaches’ are too for me. I plan on going out there and whenever I’m in, whenever they put me in, just making sure I do the job so then [I can] go beyond those expectations.”
One player who had a big impact on the Arizona product last season was released recently, as the Pats cut ties with veteran tight end Alge Crumpler on Friday. The move leaves Gronkowski, at just 22 years of age, as the most experienced tight end on the Pats’ roster. Rookies Lee Smith and Will Yeatman are both older than Gronkowski, though both were still in college while Gronkowski was learning the Patriots way, something Crumpler may have helped with.
“Alge Crumpler’s a great guy, and is definitely going to be missed,” Gronkowski said. “[Players] already miss his presence. He’s a great leader and I’m definitely going to miss him. I hope the best for him, too, in the future. He wasn’t just a great player, but he was a great guy on and off the field.”
As for the fact that he’ll now be the one helping the new tight end, the New York native doesn’t mind the situation he’s in.
“Yes I am [one of the older guys at tight end],” Gronkowski said of going from a rookie to the most experienced veteran at his position in such a short time. “I’ve just got to keep on working hard, focusing on my own job, keep going out there and trying to get better every day.”