Rob Gronkowski says he’s ready to make a fearless return: ‘I’m going to keep smashing and dashing’
|07.25.14 at 1:17 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Gronk was back in rare form Friday.
Rob Gronkowski held court on a sunny Friday morning after his second practice of training camp, announcing that he plans to make a fearless return to the field this season and put a string of injuries behind him. The most recent, of course, came on Dec. 8, 2013 when T.J. Ward drilled him in the right knee, causing a tear of his ACL and a subsequent knee reconstruction.
Gronkowski said that, while he won’t likely participate fully when he puts on pads with the rest of his teammates Saturday, he will be prepared mentally for the first game, whenever that comes.
“I’m pretty sure I won’t have any fear at that moment because that’s what we’re working here for, getting myself right, getting my knee right, getting everything strengthened around it so when I do hit the field, when I do start hitting, when I do start getting tackled, I’m out there ready to go [and] I’m not thinking about that in the back of my head,” Gronkowski said. “It’s a slow progression. I’m just working every single week to get to that progression, and hopefully and it comes down to where I’m ready and I’m ready to roll and I’m good to go and I’m out there for my teammates. I want to be out there for my teammates and give it all I got and make some plays for them.”
As for being at full strength, Gronkowski cautioned that there is still plenty of work remaining before that hurdle is cleared.
“If it were 100 percent, I’d be doing every single thing so no, I’m not 100 percent right now, obviously not,” Gronkowski said. “I’m working my way to get to that and I’m working every single day to get to that and improving every single day.
“I’m preparing myself to my max ability right now for the first regular game. I can’t really say anything from here on out because it’s far away. Every single day, I’m just giving it everything I’ve got in the rehab room and out here on the field. I’m preparing myself and listening to my trainers, what they have for me so that I’m ready to go when it comes down to it. Hopefully, I am.
“No timetable at all. Just keep improving every single day and we’ll see what the trainers want me to do. They’ve been through plenty of knee injuries throughout their years here.”
If you think he plans to change his style in light of ankle, back, forearm and knee injuries that have knocked him out of 17 of his last 26 games since 2012, think again.
“Nah, I ain’t changing that one bit,” Gronkowski said. “I’m going to go full speed when I’m out there and I’m going to keep smashing and dashing in everything I do. Maybe if it’s not necessary one single bit I’ll go down [to the ground]. But if I can make some plays and make some extra yards and get in the end zone, I’m definitely going to go full speed and do everything I can.”