BOSTON (CBS) — Rob Gronkowski hasn’t addressed the NFL’s concussion issue much publicly, nor has he talked about his own past head injury. While the Patriots’ All-Pro tight end seems keenly aware of the risks that he is putting his head and the rest of his body through as a pro football player, he doesn’t seem overly concerned about them. He’s also trying to use head injuries in a positive light, as only he can.
Speaking to Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk Live on Tuesday, Gronkowski was asked about how much he ponders life after football in light of increased concussion awareness and long-term health concerns regarding head injuries. He explained how he uses the stigma of head injuries in a humorous manner whenever he has an embarrassing moment.
“I don’t really think about [life after football] that much right now at this stage of my life, but I do use it as a great excuse whenever I do something wrong,” joked Gronkowski. “I say ‘It’s because I play football and I get hit in the head a lot.’ If someone tries to argue that, I don’t see how they can argue that.
“I try to use it as a positive and use it as an excuse when I do something crazy.”
Gronkowski has suffered one known head injury in his NFL career, a slight concussion on the same play that he tore his ACL and MCL on a hit delivered by former Browns safety T.J. Ward – “an obvious one that everyone saw,” as Gronk described it. He also passed through the concussion protocol when taking a big hit from Seahawks safety Earl Thomas last November. The tight end said in a 2015 interview with Jim Rome that he would rather suffer a concussion than a serious knee injury.
Gronk’s physical playing style has led to repeated blows to the head over the course of his NFL career, which could eventually raise long-term concerns about the well-being of his brain. But not only is Gronk not worrying too much about head injuries, he has no trepidation over his post-NFL career, either.
“I’ve done many things before, out there in the TV world, hosting TV shows, doing cameos in movies,” said Gronkowski. “But my first priority is football, so I’m always thinking about that.
“When it gets closer to that time [that my playing career is over], I’ll have a better perspective of what I want to do.”