EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

December 31, 2012

Gronk's return huge for Pats

FOXBORO — It took three quarters and a little over five minutes, but Patriots fans finally received the gift they had been waiting six weeks for.

A Rob Gronkowski spike.

Out since Week 10 with a broken forearm, the superstar tight end made his much-anticipated return to the field yesterday. He sent the Pats fans who braved the 16-degree temperature (with wind chill) and snow-covered seats into hysterics with 9:20 to go in the fourth quarter when he caught a Tom Brady pass and cruised in for a 23-yard touchdown.

Then there was The Spike. You know, the celebration that has sold a few million Dunkin’ Donuts sandwiches this fall.

“It was huge to have Gronk back today,” said fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez. “When Gronk is on the field, defenses have to pay attention. He’s too big and too athletic. It opens things up for me and Wes (Welker) and Deion (Branch) and everyone really. And he’s going to be even healthier and more ready to go for the next game.”

Was it vintage Gronk, maybe the most unstoppable player in the NFL? Probably not.

After all, two catches for 42 yards is hardly a career day for the man that delivered the greatest season for a tight end in NFL history last year.

But after missing five game with a broken forearm suffered in the victory over the now red-hot Indianapolis Colts back on Nov. 18, what truly mattered was that Gronkowski, the NFL’s most feared, goofiest superstar was back in action.

“Turn on the film and you will see what makes Gronk special,” said backup tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. “He runs routes like a receiver, and with his size and speed he’s practically impossible to cover for a defensive back, safety, anybody. That rare ability shows up every week.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Jack White's Cub Face How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China Sterling says he's not trying to block Clippers sale Selig: MLB 'more popular today than ever' Eli, Giants learning new offense Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Longhorns Coach Disses Texas With Compliment - @TheBuzzeronFOX How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits
Boston Sports
McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Who will Brady turn to if Gronk can’t stay healthy? Gronkowski cleared to participate in Patriots training camp Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Shaughnessy: Dont count out the Sox just yet Blakely: Projecting the Celtics roster Daopolous: How will NFL cracking down on Defensive holding affect games? Jack White's Cub Face How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China Sterling says he's not trying to block Clippers sale Selig: MLB 'more popular today than ever' Eli, Giants learning new offense