Manish Mehta, NYDN – He is a decrepit version of his former indestructible self, a beaten and battered prized fighter who looks sad and lost.
If you love football, you want to remember Rob Gronkowski the way that he should be remembered: Strong, powerful and leaping tall buildings in a single bound.
You want to see him crush poor saps unlucky enough to be assigned to tackle him in the open field. You want to see him chugging – and spiking – beers on a parade float. You want to witness his God-awful dance moves as he tries to pry a smile out of Lord Vader on the sideline. … His body is 29 going on 92. Watching him run around on the few fall Sundays that he’s actually available is cringe-worthy stuff.
He’s Bernie… and the weekend is nearly upon us. …
Gronk is a shell of his former self.
The hot tub that Gronk lounges in (with or without adult film stars) isn’t a time machine. His three-week hiatus to rest his balky back and ankle might provide momentary relief, but it won’t be sustainable. …
It’s blasphemous to Patriot Nation to even suggest that one of their most beloved players has lost his superpowers. They’re holding out hope for a miracle resurgence that simply isn’t going to happen.
If you came here expecting to read [cliche Masshole voice] “Uh-uh. No way Gronk is dunzo. He’s gonna be fine. They’re just being careful with him to rest him up for the playoffs because they don’t need him since the AFC East blows,” thanks for the click but you’ll have to move on to the next blog. You won’t find it here.
The fact is, I have no idea how healthy Gronk is going to be the rest of the way. I asked to see the MRI on his back and the X-rays on his ankle and the results of his toxicology but they threw HIPAA in my face and told me to screw. What I know for sure is Manish Mehta has no idea either. Neither do any of the media wormtongues who are calling the time of death on his career right now. Whether he’s looked a step slow and been largely unable to shake defenders since his 7-catch, 123-yard, 1 TD performance against Houston in Week 1 due to a couple of temporary things he needed to rest or a symptom of a larger, chronic disorder he’ll be living with for the rest of his life is between Gronk, his doctor, his god and my god, Bill Belichick. Anyone speaking definitively about his condition is talking out of their ass, period.
Which brings me back to Manish Mehta. He is such a house man for the Jets that he can’t talk if Woody Johnson is drinking water. So what we’re reading here is a reflection of how the Jets franchise has been dealing with the Patriots for 19 years now. This is their whole organizational philosophy in a poorly-written nutshell. Their entire blueprint for success.
The Patriots were good last year, but it can’t last forever! They’re losing free agents! They’re losing coaches! Brady’s getting old! Gronk is breaking down! Belichick is unhappy that Kraft is meddling! He’ll retire! They’ll all be gone soon! We’re closing the gap! Once we develop a quarterback we’ll be better than them!
I mean, just reread that and listen to the glee in it. Trotting out every cliche of Rob Gronkowski being a big, stupid, manchild, body-slamming bros, dancing like a trained ape and banging pornsluts in hot tubs. But now the party is over. Just bathing in the guy’s blood without having the first clue how healthy he’s going to be after resting up for four weeks.
But what’s more telling about what is said is what is NOT said. That if Gronk will never be the same player – a gigantic “if” – it won’t be because of anything the Jets ever did to stop him. Or his team. They and their media muppets talk like the Jets have had a passive role in all this. They’re spectators, waiting for Gronk and the Patriots to stop being great on their own, rather than figuring out a way to be better than them.
The Patriots used a 2nd rounder in 2010 to land the best player at his position of all time. While the Jets were sitting high in the draft blowing top 20 picks on colossal failures like Vernon Gholston, Mark Sanchez, Dee Milliner and Calvin Pryor. They blew the 39th overall on Geno Smith whose claim to fame was getting his jaw broken by a journeyman teammate, and the 51st on Christian Hackenberg, who’s already out of football two years later. Now they’ve pinned their hopes on Sam Darnold, who might be a healthy scratch because he’s one of the few qualifying QBs in the league with more interceptions (14) than TDs (11). Meanwhile, the Jets and the New York writers sit around sticking pins into voodoo dolls with Pats jerseys on them and hope it finally works.
Again, I don’t know what Gronk’s status is or how productive he’ll be Sunday if he does return. Nobody does. But I can assure you which team will be better and which one will have yet another high draft pick they’ll squander: