TAMPA — It was a recipe for irreverence and, of course, misinterpretation.
Rob Gronkowski, virtually peerless as a tight end and priceless as an interview, wasn’t crazy about making a cameo on the Monday Night Football simulcast hosted by Eli and Peyton Manning. He even warned Bucs vice president of communications Nelson Luis against it, indicating something nonsensical he might say could become viral.
Yet there he was Monday evening during the Lions-Packers contest, saying he never watches film in preparation for a game.
“And he doesn’t have any more vet days (off), either,” coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday, albeit with a smile.
Moments after Arians’ comments, when the sound bite had long since gone haywire on social media, Gronkowski clarified things for those who actually believed him.
“I actually watch tons of film, an overload of film,” the 32-year-old future Hall of Famer told reporters following Wednesday’s practice.
“(The Manning brothers) always get me joking around, they always get me in that type of silly atmosphere, and that’s what happened. But Coach (Arians) threatened me now that I don’t get my vet day anymore because I don’t watch film. Trust me, I watch so much film that my girlfriend gets mad at me. She freaking throws (stuff) at me sometimes because I’m watching so much film.”
Since being acquired by the Bucs via trade from the Patriots in April 2020, Gronkowski has been universally lauded by coaches and peers for his work ethic and selflessness. He’s also enjoying a career resurgence.
He has caught two touchdown passes in each of the Bucs’ last three games (including Super Bowl 55) and now has 19 multiple-TD games in his career, second all-time among NFL tight ends behind Antonio Gates (21).
“He’s the best tight end of all time for a reason,” receiver Mike Evans said after Sunday’s 48-25 victory against the Falcons. “So big and strong — he can do anything. ... And him and Tom (Brady) have a great connection, one of the better connections I’ve seen.”
Contact Joey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.
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