Amid fantasy owners' complaints, Rob Gronkowski hopes 'go time' is near


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — These are edgy times for all those fantasy football owners who used a high draft pick on New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski.

“Yeah, I know it,” Gronkowski, who has just one catch for 11 yards this season, told reporters with a smile Wednesday. “I can’t even go to the grocery store without getting yelled at. I’m like, ‘Why did you draft me then?’”

The bad news: Gronkowski admits the hamstring injury that made him inactive for the season’s first two games “obviously” has held him back, and he didn’t feel as explosive as usual when he got back on the field.

“When you get injured, you kind of start back at day zero,” he said.

The good news: Gronkowski says the hamstring is “progressing every single week, every single day, and hopefully, this week, it’s go time.”

His playing time increased last week, from 14 snaps against the Houston Texans on Sept. 22 to 39 snaps Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. But he’s run just 15 pass patterns on those 53 snaps (28%), including two plays where he blocked and released to the flat.

Last season, Gronkowski ran patterns on roughly 60% of the snaps he played, catching 72 passes for 1,176 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also was used mostly as the wing (outside) in the Patriots’ two-tight sets — duties that have gone this season to Martellus Bennett, while Gronkowski has blocked more as the Y tight end (inside).

The absence of quarterback Tom Brady, who is back from his Deflategate suspension and will start Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, has clearly impacted the Patriots’ offensive approach. (They ranked fifth in pass attempts per game in 2015 and are dead last so far this season, with just 114 passes total.) But Gronkowski admits he hasn’t been himself, either.

“Coming back, you just can’t go full speed, at a hundred percent,” he said. “I wish I could. I wish it was like that. Just boom, I’m healthy. Boom, go out there, run full speed. But I’ve just got to take it slowly, making sure you’re coming back strong, coming back the right way so everything in your body feels good. And when I can get rolling, I’m going to be rolling.”

Asked if those fantasy owners will get a return on their investment, Gronkowski said: “Hopefully.”

But he’s not too concerned about those folks, either.

“What do I got to say to them?” Gronkowski said. “It’s real football. That’s what I’m really only worried about, is going out there and getting the W. So, we get the W and I have no catches, I’m satisfied, man.”

***

Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter @TomPelissero.

PHOTOS: NFL power rankings entering Week 5


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Knicks overwhelm Young, Hawks 126-107 in Pierce’s debut
Knicks overwhelm Young, Hawks 126-107 in Pierce’s debut

NEW YORK (AP) - Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 31 points, sparking the Knicks during their franchise-record, 49-point second quarter, and New York beat the Atlanta Hawks 126-107 on Wednesday night in their first game under coach David Fizdale. Hardaway had 16 points in the period, when the Knicks matched the Hawks' point total for the entire first half. New...
WATCH: Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean on edge with season fast approaching
WATCH: Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean on edge with season fast approaching

MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala — The effort is always there, but learning to play with the necessary purpose is not, and that has new Georgia coach Tom Crean on edge with the season fast approaching. “We have to become a day by day program, what that means is when you are day to day, you are all over the map, you might have ...
Georgia basketball players unfazed by low projection at SEC preseason media event
Georgia basketball players unfazed by low projection at SEC preseason media event

MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. — Georgia coach Tom Crean said he wants to be sure not to expect too much his basketball team. The media panel at SEC basketball’s “Tipoff 19” certainly aided his cause, the Bulldogs picked to finish 13th in the 14-team league, and none of the Georgia payers were among the 12 players selected...
Tight ends embrace block-first role in Bulldogs’ offense
Tight ends embrace block-first role in Bulldogs’ offense

» Complete UGA coverage on ajc.com Charlie Woerner made his football reputation as a swift-footed wide receiver and free safety at Rabun County High School who might even occasionally take some snaps at running back. That all changed when he got to Georgia. The Bulldogs immediately identified the fast-growing Woerner as a tight end, and...
Charlie Woerner, Georgia tight ends embrace block-first role in offense
Charlie Woerner, Georgia tight ends embrace block-first role in offense

ATHENS – Charlie Woerner made his football reputation as a swift-footed wide receiver and free safety at Rabun County High School who might even occasionally take some snaps at running back. That all changed when he got to Georgia. The Bulldogs immediately identified the fast-growing Woerner as a tight end, and he quickly...
More Stories