Top 10 Surprising Facts About Rob Gronkowski
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Tight end Rob Gronkowski, like a bird flying South for the winter, will be taking his All-Pro talent to a much more desirable climate. Instead of the frigid New England gridiron digs ‘Gronk’ is coming out of retirement to play in balmy Tampa Bay. He is joining quarterback Tom Brady which should add to the four-time Pro Bowl player’s never-ending penchant for living life The Gronk Way. Here are our top 10 surprising Rob Gronkowski facts:
- During his high school years, Gronk’s theme song could have been a long-time standard, Travelin’ Man. His first three years of varsity football were played near Buffalo, New York and he was named 1st Team All-Western New York and 2nd Team All-State. Gronkowski moved to the Pittsburgh area prior to his senior year with his father who was starting a new business venture. At Woodland Hills high school his spectacular play resulted in several prestigious post-season awards, including Super Prep All-American and Associated Press All-State.
- Gronkowski almost wasn’t allowed to play football in Pennsylvania! The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic League initially ruled the tight end was transferring primarily due to athletics which is not permitted. The decision was overturned, and Gronkowski was allowed to suit up for his senior season.
- The Gronkowski family had its own JUGS machine. Gronk’s football coach at Woodland Hills was amazed at how the tight end would catch the high-speed footballs so easily. After hearing Gronkowski tell coaches to ‘turn it up, turn it up,’ the coach asked how his player could catch every football released. “My Dad has one of those at home,” was Gronk’s response.
- Many colleges recruited Gronkowski out of high school. Ohio State, Clemson, Maryland, and Syracuse (his father’s alma mater) were among the many schools offering a scholarship, but Gronkowski decided to move westward once again as he chose the University of Arizona.
- Gronkowski could have been wearing Oakland silver and black or Baltimore purple. In fact, the Raiders scouting department had Gronk rated as the best all-around player in the draft. So, what happened? Oakland chose linebacker Rolando McClain with the eighth overall pick and then New England worked out a trade for the Raiders second-round pick. In return for the Raiders 42nd selection Oakland moved back two spots in the second-round and received the Patriots sixth-round pick as well. The trade moved New England in front of the Ravens who were looking for a tight end.
- The Woodland Hills grad destroys the hometown Steelers! The Pittsburgh area high school standout walked onto Heinz Field in week 10 of his rookie season and wreaked havoc. Gronkowski caught seven passes with three of them going for touchdowns, including the game-clinching 25-yard scoring grab late in the fourth quarter. He became the youngest NFL rookie to catch 3 TDs in one game.
- Frugality is in the tight end’s vocabulary. At time of his book being published Gronkowski claimed he had only spent money earned from his various endorsement and off-the-field financial ventures. He had socked away all his football contract money, saying he realized a player’s NFL career could end at any time.
- There is Olympic blood in the Gronkowski family. Gronk is the great-grandson of an Olympic cyclist. In 1924 Ignatius Gronkowski represented the United States at the Summer Olympics held in Paris, France.
- Gronk didn’t spend idle time during his short retirement. The year between his retiring and his upcoming NFL restart included the 6-6, 270 lb athlete entering the WWE ring. He was hired as an announcer but got into a Wrestlemania brawl, ending up with the WWE 24/7 Belt! The 24/7 Championship has to be defended anytime and anywhere.
- Gronkowski isn’t the only Super Bowl participant from his high school. The trophy case at Woodland Hills high school near Pittsburgh has several gold-plated footballs, delivered annually to the high schools of all the Super Bowl participating players. Gronkowski’s football contributions are alongside four other NFLers who attended high school there (including Jason Taylor, NFL Hall of Famer).