It didn’t take long for Rob Gronkowski to become one of the better offensive players in the National Football League. In fact, the 2010 second round pick of the New England Patriots is already among the best players in the game overall.
It seems with every game that Gronk plays, the legend grows. As great a player as he is on the field, Gronkowski has become something of a folk hero in the NFL. His partying ways are well known. He’s appeared nude in the ESPN Body Issue. But now, the word is that apparently Gronkowski cannot feel fear.
That’s according to his family, of course. Gronkowski, who is the subject of a feature in the NFL preview from Sports Illustrated, had his family share some of the tales from his childhood. The stories range from all over, from getting picked on by his brothers, to his dad leaving him at a rest stop to teach him a lesson about how to behave. Oh yeah, and Gronk can’t feel fear, either.
From Sports Illustrated:
To hear his family tell it, Rob was born without the capacity to feel fear or pain. The first time he went skiing, at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, N.Y., he sneaked to the top of the first run and went straight down as fast as he could. At home he endured withering charley horses from his brothers almost daily. Usually they were the result of botched sneak attacks; Dan would be standing in the living room, and—bam!—the smaller, younger Rob would hit him at full speed from behind. Then: retribution. Today, Rob’s brothers believe his success at breaking tackles is a result of the ritual pummelings they gave him.
In the article, one of the things Gronkowski touches on is making plays over the middle. He seems to almost enjoy the punishment that comes with trying to make a catch in the middle of the field. But when you’re as big a man as Rob Gronkowski (6’6″, 255), I guess the defenders have more of a reason to be afraid of you than you have to be afraid of them.