Sunday’s AFC championship game, pitting the New England Patriots against the Denver Broncos, already has a ton of story lines. But that’s not stopping players for both sides from ramping things up with a war of words.
There is a legitimate point to be made here, given that, when the Patriots played the Broncos in November, Gronkowski left the field on a cart after taking a hit on his right knee from Denver safety Darian Stewart. That injury caused the tight end to miss a game, but it appeared at the time that it could have been much worse.
Further, when Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. was asked on SportsCenter, “How do you tackle Rob Gronkowski?” he responded by saying, “You gotta hit him low, man — hit him in his knees. That’s the best chance you have of hitting him.” Harris then added, “You gotta take his legs out or hold on and wait for everybody, wait for the gang to come on and gang tackle him.”
In addition, another Denver safety, T.J. Ward, dealt Gronkowski a season-ending injury in 2013, when Ward was with the Browns. His hit on the right knee ruptured the tight end’s ACL and MCL, and the Patriots went on to lose in the AFC championship game — to the Broncos.
This being Gronkowski, there’s another way to look at his tweet, one that is much more sophomoric. There are two reasons to think that is exactly the way it is intended: 1) the laughing emoji and 2) the fact that we’re talking about Gronk here.
The tweet followed some comments from the Broncos’ Antonio Smith about Patriots quarterback, and Gronk’s good buddy, Tom Brady. The defensive lineman told a Colorado newspaper that describing Brady as a “cybaby” would be “an accurate statement,” although he added some respectful comments about the three-time Super Bowl MVP.
Gronkowski was decidedly disrespectful in his tweet, no matter which way one interprets it. And to think, it’s still Tuesday — so many more opportunities for trash talk to come!