Aug 4, 2020; Tampa, Florida,USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) practices at AdventHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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Bucs’ Arians: Gronk looks like he did ‘5 or 6 years ago’

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski looks like a new man in the eyes of head coach Bruce Arians.

After all, Gronkowski is no longer wearing his bulky elbow brace, and the one-year retirement appears to have added some pep in his step.

“No similarities at all. He looks like he was five or six years ago before all the injuries,” Arians said on Thursday of the 31-year-old Gronkowski. “The back surgeries have healed, so he had a year of healing. He looks to me like he was five or six years ago.

“… He’s moving. He’s running fast again. He’s got great body control. Some of the things — the stiffness that I saw at the end of his career with all the injuries — it looks like it’s gone.”

Arians isn’t the only one singing the praises of the 6-foot-6 Gronkowski, who is a future Hall of Famer with 521 career catches for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns.

“I think the most amazing thing about Gronk is that as big of a guy he is, he’s athletic. He can do a lot of things. He’s got some quick-twitch movements,” Tampa Bay tight ends coach Rick Christophel said. “Everything that you’ve seen being in the league and seeing him play, getting to watch him on film, getting to watch him on television — I think the most important thing is it matters to him. He loves it. He has fun. He loves to play the game and he has fun out there, but it matters to him.

“When he makes a mistake, it hurts him and like Tom (Brady), he wants to win. I think that’s a big component of what makes his personality.”

Gronkowski admitted it took some time to get adjusted to his new surroundings.

“Definitely no regrets,” Gronkowski said. “I’m here, I’m supposed to be here — I feel like I’m supposed to be here. That’s definitely in the past and I’m here to play football now. I’m glad to be here. Going out there and just playing ball — it feels good. Let me tell you, the first couple practices, it definitely felt weird. …

“As time goes on and as the days go on, I feel better about myself being out there. My confidence keeps going up, the game is slowing down, I’m starting to pick up the offense more. But overall, it’s going good. I have so much more to work on and so much more to improve on, but I am really glad to be here.”

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
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