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"He looks like an 8th grader playing against 2nd graders" - Julian Edelman explains why Rob Gronkowski is the best NFL tight end of all-time

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Indianapolis Colts
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Indianapolis Colts
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Ian Van Roy

At this point in his NFL career, Rob Gronkowski is playing with house money in the eyes of most fans. After 11 seasons and already on deck to play a third after retiring and missing 2019, the tight end's tenure is already legendary. His former teammate, Julian Edelman, echoed this sentiment in an appearance on the All Smoke Podcast.

On the show, Edelman talked about how hard it was to tackle the tight end and other top aspects of his game:

“Gronk was Insane! I have said it so many times, he looks like an 8th grader playing against the 2nd graders in the league. There is like a four-year span where you couldn’t tackle him."
Love the play calling, just need to work on your spike power, madding rating of 30 on strength. twitter.com/derek_hoffman5…

He continued, calling the tight end the class of his position:

"That’s why guys started to go low at him, and then he blew out his knee... He was so athletic, fast, and can make catches. I think he’s the best tight end that I have seen not just in this era but I think ever.”

Rob Gronkowski's career in the NFL

Dallas Cowboys v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dallas Cowboys v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rob Gronkowski's career began in April 2010 when he was drafted 42nd overall in the second round by the New England Patriots. He went to middle-aged Tom Brady's team as a rookie, beginning a partnership that would be counted as one of the top duos in the NFL.

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However, the tight end started somewhat slowly, compared to his later seasons, at least. According to Pro Football Reference, he earned 42 catches for 546 yards and ten touchdowns. In 2011, the tight end's career quickly hit top speed as he earned a career-high 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns. At this point, the tight end was on the map.

Over the next seven years, Gronkowski's biggest enemy was his body, as repeated injuries stonewalled what may otherwise have been a dominating career. When he was healthy, he put together seasons rivaling any competitors in terms of production.

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From 2012 to 2018, Gronkowski earned at least 1,075 yards three times. The tight end's worst season came in 2016, when he played in just eight games, accumulating 540 yards and three touchdowns. After the 2018 season, he retired. However, after missing 2019, he was right back to the grind, joining Brady in Tampa Bay.

Since coming out of retirement, Gronkowski has earned roughly 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns in two seasons. With retirement again looming for the tight end, many are wondering if he will hang up his cleats before the 2022 kickoff.


Edited by Piyush Bisht
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