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Scott Chandler is excited to get to Foxboro and ‘deal with’ Bill Belichick, work with Rob Gronkowski 03.20.15 at 4:53 pm ET
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Scott Chandler is ready to begin a new career in New England. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Scott Chandler is ready to begin a new career in New England. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Scott Chandler knows the situation he’s in coming to Foxboro. He leaves Buffalo where he was clearly the best pass-catching tight end in the Bills’ offense and comes to New England where he will be the second-most recognizable tight end behind Rob Gronkowski.

During a conference call Friday, Chandler called Bill Belichick a straight shooter.

Did Belichick lay out to him what it will mean to be the second tight end in a potent offense behind Rob Gronkowski?

“We didn’€™t get into that too terribly much,” Chandler said. “I think what I want to do is be part of a team that’€™s a winning team. Whatever that role that the coaches define for me there, I want to do whatever I can to help the team win.

“I’€™ve talked to Rob on the field after games and that’€™s about it. I’€™m sure we’€™ll get to know each other and get along well. He seems like a fun guy to be around. Obviously he’€™s a great player. I’€™m looking forward to being able to learn from him and watch him do his thing. He’€™s pretty fun to watch.”

Chandler, like Gronk, is a tall tight end, at 6-foot-7, and – like Gronk – could provide more blocking along the offensive line as he has developed that part of his game.

“I think it’€™s one of those things that it can be tough, but I’€™ve been dealing with it for a while now,” Chandler added. “You learn to sink or swim pretty quick in this league. You want to do whatever you can to get low and stay low. It’€™s hard, but you learn how to deal with it because if you can’€™t get the job done, they’€™re going to find someone else.”

Chandler, who signed a two-year, $5.3 million contract on March 13, will be more than happy to make some personal sacrifices to attain more team glory. In five non-playoff seasons in Buffalo, Chandler caught 17 touchdowns, including 28 catches on 42 targets and four touchdowns in nine games against the Patriots.

“I think you go into a game just wanting to do what it takes for your team to win and sometimes that means catching the ball and sometimes that means blocking well,” Chandler said. “I’€™ve probably had games that I didn’€™t have very good stats, but they were some of my better games throughout my career. It just so happened that in those games I needed to catch the ball a little bit and I was able to do that.”

Belichick can trust that Chandler has been taught well. Before playing for the Bills, he played his college ball under Belichick’s good friend and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 NFL free agency, Bill Belichick, Buffalo Bills, Kirk Ferentz
Rob Gronkowski has some fun at Clippers game Monday night 03.10.15 at 7:59 am ET
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The Winter of Gronk keeps rolling on.

Monday night Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and his brothers attended the Clippers-Timberwolves game in Los Angeles where Gronkowski made an appearance on the jumbotron dancing and then threw autographed nerf footballs into the stands.

Video of Gronkowski throwing footballs into the stands can be seen after the page jump.

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Rob Gronkowski: ‘When you win the Super Bowl, it changes lives’ 03.04.15 at 8:14 pm ET
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The Winter of Gronk has been in full swing, but the Patriots tight end took some time to join ESPN Radio’s “SVP and Russillo” show on Wednesday to promote the ESPN Madden Ultimate Team vote.

Gronkowski picked his own Madden team, and his first choice was not much of a surprise in Tom Brady.

“It was pretty cool to pick these teams,” said Gronkowski on the show. “There are so many legendary players out there, it was kind of hard. Sometimes you went with your favorite player who was on your team growing up that you like to watch, but obviously I had to pick my first choice, which is the best QB ever, Tom [Brady].”

The Patriots tight end also reflected on what life has been like since winning the Super Bowl, 28-24 over the Seahawks.

“When you win the Super Bowl, it changes lives,” Gronkowski said. “It’s been very cool, but I was also [part of] a Super Bowl loss, when we lost three years ago. I can tell you this, winning it is a lot, lot different than losing it. It’s been a great time. Pretty awesome.”

The All-Pro said he will always remember the parade through the streets of Boston the following Wednesday after the game.

“I didn’t really know what it was going to be like, what I was really getting myself into. I didn’t know duck boat rides were four miles with thousands and thousands of people [cheering],” Gronkowski said.

He finished the regular season with 82 receptions for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns, which was his second-best statistical season of his career. Gronkowski and Brady had a strong connection all season long, with Gronkowski being Brady’s go-to target. He said he and Brady still keep in touch during the offseason, but knows whenever the two meet up it’s all work.

“It’s like a work atmosphere. Call him up, see where he’s at and see if he wants to throw the ball around a little bit,” he said. “Whenever you meet up with Tom, you always know you’re going to be working — at least for an hour or two on the field. You know you can always count on that.”

Over the past month Gronkowski has been enjoying himself — appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, taking a vacation to Florida and most recently a weekend in Vegas.

“It’s been a little crazy, a lot of fun,” said Gronkowski of his time since the Super Bowl. “I’m just enjoying the time, celebrating with my teammates, my family and friends. Basically just enjoying the time off because you go through the grind for seven months straight, so you kind of sit back, relax, have some free time to yourself, so it’s been cool.”

Read More: Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady,
Rob Gronkowski plays dodgeball during intermission of Florida Everblades minor league hockey game 02.12.15 at 7:00 am ET
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There was the Summer of Gronk, and now it appears we’re in the midst of the Winter of Gronk.

Escaping the snow in New England, Rob Gronkowski is enjoying the sunshine in Florida and on Wednesday night he took in a Florida Everblades ECHL hockey game. The team invited him to play dodgeball during one of the intermissions on the ice, and of course Gronkowski didn’t turn it down.

“The [Blades] got a win tonight, and we got some dodgeball in,”€ Gronkowski said via the Naples Daily News. “My throws were kind of off, but they had some power behind it. It was good to see the hometown team get a win. It’€™s good for the town, and it’€™s cool that everyone comes out to support them.”

“This is one of the most beautiful places I’€™ve ever seen,” he added. “I visit the area a couple of times a year. I like to chill and do some stuff around the town; we come to some Everblades games once in a while.”

The Patriots tight end posed for pictures with fans, and visited with the team in the locker room as well.

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Patriots position-by-position breakdown: Tight end 02.10.15 at 4:19 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski was a tremendous force in 2014 for the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski was a tremendous force in 2014 for the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With the Patriots done for the season, we’ve got an end-of-the-year position-by-position breakdown of where the Patriots stand. We kicked off the series with a look at the special teams, wide receivers and running backs. Now, it’s tight ends.

Depth chart: Rob Gronkowski (82 catches, 131 targets, 1,124 yards, 12 TDs), Tim Wright (26 catches, 33 targets, 259 yards, 6 TDs), Michael Hoomaanwanui (3 catches, 6 targets, 44 yards)

Overview: What could be said about the impact of Gronkowski on the New England offense in 2014 that hasn’t already been said? After playing in just 18 of a possible 32 regular-season games in 2012 and 2013 because of health issues, he returned to become the most potent offensive option in the NFL this season, playing in 15 regular-season games (he sat out the meaningless regular-season finale against the Bills) and all three playoff contests. Along the way, he reasserted himself as an absolutely unstoppable presence. Including the playoffs, he topped 90 receiving yards in seven games, and had six or more catches in nine games and became a genuine MVP candidate.

When the numbers did dip, it reminded you of the old phrase about the only person being able to hold Michael Jordan to single-digits in scoring was Dean Smith. His impact was not just working as a pure pass-catcher, as on several occasions, teams went hard after Gronkowski with two and three defenders, which opened things up for other dependable targets in the passing game like Brandon LaFell or Julian Edelman. And his work as a blocker occasionally gets lost in the wave of statistical output — he remains one of the better blocking tight ends in the league, and did more than his share of clearing the way for the New England running game. (Just ask Sergio Brown.)

This is not to necessarily diminish the work of Wright or Hoomanawanui. Both had their share of spotlight moments: Hoomanawanui played a sizable role in the offensive line trickery that flummoxed the Ravens in the divisional playoff game, while Wright gained notoriety as the most dependable target for Tom Brady has had in the last several seasons. But when you’re talking about tight ends in New England, the conversation begins and ends with Gronkowski. Provided he continues to stay healthy, Gronkowski — who will turn 26 in May — will continue to give defensive coordinators ice-cream headaches for the next several years.

Best moment: There were several big-time moments for Gronkowski and the rest of the tight ends this past season, but we’re going to go a little far afield with this one. In the fourth quarter of the blowout loss to the Chiefs on Sept. 29, backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo found Gronkowski on a 13-yard scoring strike, a play that was fundamentally meaningless when it came to the final outcome, but a sign of things to come when it came to overall execution. Gronkowski dragged multiple defenders with him the last few yards into the end zone. It was a sign that the Gronk of old had returned — over the next five games, he had 36 catches for 516 yards and five touchdowns, providing a jolt for the New England offense.

Worst moment: Not many here, quite frankly. Maybe the relatively slow start for Gronkowski, as he clearly struggled out of the gate to regain his old form. Keeping in mind he didn’t have any preseason action, and so he basically used the first four games of the regular season as the build up. But there were some drops and — by his own admission and when judged against his own ridiculously high standard — some ragged play in the early going, who had 13 catches in the first four games of the season and didn’t find truly find his form until the late stages of the loss to Kansas City.

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Read More: Michael Hoomanawanui, position-by-position breakdown, Rob Gronkowski, Tim Wright
NFL fines Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui for their roles in Super Bowl fight 02.06.15 at 2:18 pm ET
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It was the ugly fight that marred the end of one of the greatest Super Bowls in NFL history.

On Friday, the NFL handed out fines to the four players at the heart of the fisticuffs. For instigating the whole brawl, Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin was fined $10,000. This comes in addition to his ejection from the game.

Irvin was spotted grabbing the facemask of Michael Hoomanawanui in the back of the end zone with 18 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Irvin initially got into it with Rob Gronkowski at the line of scrimmage. Also fined was Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett. He was docked $8,268 for his role in the altercation, which included tackling Gronkowski to the ground after Irvin was pushed off to the side.

Gronkowski appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Tuesday and pretended to not be aware of throwing any punches before Kimmel showed him the tape. “I don’t think I did. No, Roger [Goodell], I did not. Oh. Ooh. Ooh. Roger, that wasn’t me. Don’t fine me. I have to buy a new party bus.”

Left with no other choice but to admit his role, Gronk explained, “Screw it, last game of the year, I’m throwing some haymakers.”

Those haymakers cost Gronkowski $8,268, the same amount his teammate Michael Hoomanawanui was fined. Gronkowski will no doubt still be able to upgrade that party bus with his Super Bowl winners’ share.

Read More: Bruce Irvin, Michael Bennett, Michael Hoomanawanui, New England Patriots
From ‘smashing and dashing’ to ‘Mona Lisa Vito,’ Patriots provided plenty of memorable quotes in 2014 02.04.15 at 8:00 am ET
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Seattle corner Jeremy Lane doesn't think Rob Gronkowski is very good. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski had some of the best quotes of the year for the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

It was an interesting season for the Patriots, made all the more eventful by some terrific quotes. Here are the 10 most memorable statements from the 2014 season from the Patriots.

10. “We’re competing. We’re vibing on offense, trying to compete with the defense to try to get better every day.” — Wide receiver Danny Amendola on July 30, 2014, channeling his inner Wooderson when talking about the state of the Patriots offense early in training camp

9. “They beat us like we stole something.” Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork on Sept. 29, 2014 in the moments after a 41-14 loss to the Chiefs. The unquestioned low point of the season, New England was dominated in all three phases of the game as it fell to 2-2 on the season

8. “He’s our Energizer Bunny.” — Cornerback Darrelle Revis on Nov. 4, 2014 talking about Brandon Browner. Browner delivered a jolt to the New England secondary, bringing guts and energy to a group of defensive backs who became one of the best positional groupings in the league

7. “With a healthy Gronk, we’re a whole different team.” — Wide receiver Brandon LaFell on Oct. 12, 2014, speaking after a 37-22 win over Buffalo where Gronkowski had seven catches for 94 yards and really started to show signs of his pre-injury form

6. “Before we came to the game I go, “I’m going to make 12 look like Tom Brady again,’ and I went out there with my teammates and we made Tom Brady look like Tom Brady after you guys were criticizing him all week. The fans — everything it feels so good — he’s such a leader and he went over 50,000 yards [passing] today. He’s an unbelievable player and I am so glad to play with him.” — Rob Gronkowski on Oct. 5, 2014, speaking after a 43-17 win over the Bengals. Brady had taken plenty of heat over the course of the week following a nasty loss, and bounced back to play one of his best games of the season while leading New England to the win

5. “Nah, I ain’t changing that one bit. 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.” — Gronkowski on July 25, 2014, talking about his post-surgery attitude

4. “He had me at hello.” — Wide receiver Julian Edelman on Jan. 23, 2015, speaking about his relationship with Brady. The two have grown extremely close, developing a tight bond both on and off the field

3. “He was just yappin’€™ at me the whole time, so I took him and threw him out of the club.” — Gronkowski on Nov. 16, 2014, talking about his in-game altercation with Indy’s Sergio Brown where he blocked him into a camera pit

2. “I’m just telling you what I know. I would not say I’m Mona Lisa Vito of the football world, as she was in the car expertise area. I’m not a scientist, and I’m not a league official.” — Belichick on Jan. 24, 2015, at a surprise press conference where he talked about the burgeoning scandal involving under-inflated footballs, referencing Marisa Tomei’s character from the movie “My Cousin Vinny”

1. “We’re on to Cincinnati.” — Belichick, speaking just 36 hours after a withering loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City. Belichick uttered the phrase several times in the wake of a line of questions about the state of his team. The Patriots responded, beating the Bengals 43-17 the following Sunday night, jumpstarting a race to the Super Bowl

Read More: Bill Belichick, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Mona Lisa Vito
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