INDIANAPOLIS– From the time that the team deplaned from their Delta Airlines charter flight the talk started. While the players received welcome scarves from the Super Bowl Host Committee most strained to look toward Rob Gronkowski and his ankle.
Gronkowski will be the topic of Super Bowl XLVI parties and sports-talk radio right up through kickoff time. The super tight end is the favorite reception target for the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The New York Giants have a strong defensive game but no answer for the 6’6” blocking-receiver.
Gronkowski, who set single-season records for scoring and receiving yards by a tight end this season, is a big part of the Patriots offensive game plan. He had 17 touchdowns among his 90 receptions this season.
He has reinvented the position as a safety valve for his QB and most importantly, getting yards after the catch. With professional coaches and football speak it is called YAC. YAC is a very valuable statistic in analyzing the aerial offense.
He suffered a high left ankle sprain in the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens. Gronkowski has been seen walking in a boot and has not participated in practices. His father, Gordon, had the Patriots front office in a tizzy by releasing information announcing that his son has a high ankle sprain but expected to play. Gordon Gronkowski told Buffalo TV station WIVB the info during an interview much to the chagrin of NFL officials. The reason being, gamblers thrive on that kind of inside information.
A high ankle sprain is an injury that can sideline a player. If Gronkowski plays he might be limited in what he is able to do on the field. He has been kept out of practice and has been seen walking in a protective boot.
The official word from the Patriots is that Gronkowski is day-to-day. No one knows what that will mean but Gronkowski has told some reporters that he should be on the field next Sunday. At press day and seated at a podium and without the walking boot he wore last week, Gronkowski didn’t seem overly concerned Tuesday that he would miss the Super Bowl game against the New York Giants as he said, “The game is six days away. I can be 100 percent by then or I can be 2 percent by then. It’s day to day.”
The durable Gronkowski has played in all 35 games since the Patriots drafted him in the second round out of Arizona two years ago. “You’ve got to prepare for every one of these situations that come up,” said Brady. The Patriots also have Aaron Hernandez another capable tight end.
News on Gronkowski’s injury will remain a main talking point because he is so important to the Patriots offense.
Jacek Urbaczyk contributed
Picture: Rob Gronkowski said Tuesday the walking boot was off his left foot for good – AP Photo/Marek Humphrey, Espn.go.com
POLISH CLUB ONLINE, 2012.01.31