Rob Gronkowski is a big reason why the New England Patriots won three Super Bowls in the last five years. However, the team was very close not to drafting him based on the first impression the standout tight end made nearly 10 years ago. On Friday night, the NFL released its roster of tight ends for the NFL 100 All-Time team and Gronk made the cut. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was featured on the show and he talked about how Gronkowski fell asleep during a pre-draft meeting.
"Rob was kind of a shot in the dark," Belichick said on the NFL Network per the New York Post. "He came up on his pre-draft visit, had a bad visit. We put him in a room, came back and he was asleep on the floor, didn’t make a very good impression."
Belichick went on to say they didn't have much information on Gronkowski because he did not see a lot of action while attending the University of Arizona. He missed his entire junior season in 2009 because of a back injury.
"We brought him in," Belichick added, "we were getting ready to have a meeting with the coaches and go through and then he fell asleep on the floor —- like 'oh boy!' We got a slow start there."
The bad first impression didn't scare the Patriots as they drafted him in the second round in 2010. And it tuned out to be the right move as Gronk ended his career with five Pro Bowl appearances and being named to the All-Pro First Team four times in nine seasons. When he found out he was named to the NFL 100 All-Time Team, he sent to message to Belichick and his teammates.
"After 9 years of Gronk spikes, championships, and a trophy dent, it’s an incredible honor to be recognized as a [NFL] Top 100 Player," Gronkowski wrote on Instagram. "I worked hard, tried to get even better, and most importantly had fun while doing it. Shout-out to my teammates and coaches, we are all champions together."
With Gonk being 30 years old, he left the game at a very young age, which has led to speculation of him returning to the NFL when he was able to get 100 percent healthy. But it looks like that isn't going to happen anytime soon.
"I wouldn't say 'never coming back,'" Gronkowski said to Mike Reiss of ESPN last month. "I'm 30 years old. I'm young. I still stay fit, still watch the game whenever I can, still enjoy it. I'm feeling good, but you know, one year off could possibly be the case. Or maybe two years off, man."