Transcript of Rob Gronkowski’s interview at the NFL Combineby Anthony Gimino on Feb. 25, 2010, under Sports
Our pals at NFLDraftScout.com are on the scene at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and were kind enough to send us Thursday’s group interview transcript with ex-Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski.
(You can find the work of NFLDraftScout.com on CBSSports.com and they also publish information on other platforms, such as USA Today.)
A couple of things about the interview with Gronkowski, who talked with TucsonCitizen.com on Monday. He was more definite Thursday about not working out at the UA Pro Day on March 12, waiting until the end of the month for an individual workout. That March 26 workout was still being finalized on Monday.
And, assuming the transcript (done by the Arizona Republic’s Kent Somers) is correct, I have no idea why he referred to UA as “Arizona University.”
Anyway … on to the transcript, which is available here on the internet before anyone else:
Q. What do you bring to the table?
A. “Being a true tight end, being able to block, being able to go out for passes, being able to catch the ball.”
Q. How’s the back?
A. “My back is holding up great. It’s 100 percent now. No pain. I’ve never felt this great in a while. I’m ready to go with my back. My back is 100 percent.”
Q. Upper back, lower?
A. “It was L-2, L-3, lumbar spine, lower back.”
Q. What did they do in surgery?
A. “It was a microdisectomy. Basically, the doctor shaves off the disc that’s sticking out on to your spinal cord. It’s a real minimal invasive surgery, it’s a real easy process, but it takes about three to five months recovery rate. It’s been more than five months but I’m ready to go.”
Q. Hearing a lot of questions about your back?
A. “I’m definitely facing some but handling it well. I’m going to be 100 percent because I’ve been cleared by many doctors. There really are no issues about my back any more.”
Q. Can you walk us through the process about whether to come out after your junior year?
A. “It was definitely a tough decision. Leaving the Arizona family was hard; it was definitely a family there. Great atmosphere. Great football. I always wanted to play in the NFL. It was always a dream of mine and I wanted to fulfill my dream. When I have an opportunity, I step on board. I don’t like waiting around. Those were definitely the two biggest decisions.”
Q. Did the injury prompt you to go or were you just ready?
A. “Going into my junior year, I definitely felt I was going to be ready. That was my goal. That’s why I chose to go to Arizona University because I knew Arizona University was going to be a place to get me to the next level.”
Q. What do you want to accomplish at the combine?
A. “Definitely prove that I’m medically sound. I believe I passed everything today with flying colors. It was real easy. I’m only benching here. I wanted to have a great interview process. It’s been going well so far.”
Q. If you are 100 percent healthy, why aren’t you taking part in drills at the combine?
A. “My back is 100 percent. I just started running two, three weeks ago. I need to get my conditioning back. Get all my times back. Every single week my speed is improving but I feel like I need two, three more weeks until it improves to where it was before my back surgery.
My doctors and I, my agents and I, talked and we decided it would be best to work out the end of March. The pro day (at Arizona) is March 12 but I’ll probably have an individual pro day at the end of march in Tucson.”
Q. So when will your pro day be?
A. “We’re still working on it but we’re going for March 26.”
Q. What kind of player is an NFL team going to get?
A. “They are going to get a tough, physical player who likes to do the dirty work and likes to make big plays down the field.”
Q. Any goal for the 40?
A. “4.6′s. That’s what I’m going for.”
Q. Is your dad responsible for your skills?
A. “I guess. I’ll give him credit. The genes. Thanks, dad.”
Q. Why did you think Arizona would prepare you for the NFL?
A. “They showed me how they wanted to use me. The blocking schemes we had, lots of power which is used big-time in the NFL. Just teaching me about receiving. They helped me out a lot and it definitely got me to where I am.”
A. “A lot of teams say my blocking’s good and a lot of teams say my blocking needs improving. I believe I had some great games blocking, I also believe I had some all right games blocking. I definitely need work in that area.”
Q. Where do you rank in this class of tight ends?
A. “I believe I rank right up in the top 3, if not No. 1.”
Q. Height, weight?
A. “6-6, and 264 pounds.”
Q. What did your brother Dan tell you about preparing for the draft?
A. “He gave me a lot of advice. We went over plays, how the interviews will be. He just basically mentally prepared me to do well.”
Q. Tell us about the sibling rivalry. Your brother, Chris, didn’t get invited to the combine but could get drafted. (He also went to Arizona, a fullback).
A. “Growing up, there was big fights in the house, big competitions. We would always be playing sports, basketball, mini-baseball in the backyard. We were always competitive. I believe that’s why my family is to where it is now, with the help of us brothers pushing each other.”
Q. Do you pattern game after someone?
A. “I don’t pattern my game after, ‘Oh, I’m like that guy.’ Jeremy Shockey brings some intensity to the table. Tony Gonzalez is a great tight end. I like watching those two guys a lot. I respect their game, big time.”
Q. How did Arizona use you?
A. “At Arizona, I spread out at wide receiver, I was in the slot a lot and I put my hand down next to the tackle a lot. I probably put my hand down about 50 percent of the time.”
Q. Your greatest skill?
A. “My hands. I believe I have great hands. I’ll catch anything in my path. I would say I’m the top tight end because I bring the whole package. I’m ready to take on the big D-ends. I’m ready to go out there and catch some passes.”
Q. Tell us about Chris, your brother.
A. “He graduated from Arizona. He didn’t get invited here. He’s out training with me in Miami. He signed with Drew Rosenhaus, too. He’s doing great. He’s in the greatest shape of his life. He’s as strong as he ever been. He’s faster than he’s ever been. He’s going to impress some people when it comes down to his pro day.”
Q. Why are all-around tight ends so rare?
A. “There are some great receiving tight ends out there and there are some great blocking tight ends but the greatest ever can usually do both.”
Q. You moved to Pittsburgh before your senior year. It seemed to work out?
A. “It came out well. My goal was to get to the National Football League and going to Pittsburgh, there is some great football down there, some great coaches, a lot of great players on my team and some great coaches. It ended up being great.”
Q. Where do you want to be picked?
A. “My goal has always been to be a first-round tight end.”
Q. How much thought have you put into who needs tight ends?
A. “A lot. A lot of agents gave me a sheet, who needs tight ends the most, who doesn’t.”
Q. You grew up in Buffalo, were you a big Bills fan?
A. “Yes. That was my No. 1 team. Since I was right outside of Buffalo I always watched the Bills.”