Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski is still about 50-50 regarding the possibility of entering the NFL Draft, with a week to go before the deadline to declare.
The decision, according to his father, Gordon Gronkowski, rests on what he hears from the NFL Advisory Committee and how he continues to progress with a private trainer in Florida.
“It’s a tough decision,” the elder Gronkowski said in a phone interview Friday. “It can go one way or another.”
Although the family has yet to hear from the advisory committee — Gordon said he expects the report about Rob’s draft status to come in Monday — there have been encouraging signs from NFL teams and in Rob’s rehab from back surgery that kept him out all of his junior season.
“He’s lifting. He’s running as of yesterday,” said Gordon, adding that he is paying for his son’s training in order to preserve Rob’s college eligibility. “We’re taking it day by day. Basically, what he is doing is core strength. The doctors say he is right on schedule.”
As for the NFL, Gordon said the family has heard from 18 teams.
“Nine of the teams say that as long as he is healthy, he’ll go in the first round,” Gordon said. “Nine teams say he’ll go in the second round.”
Whatever the Gronkowski family can learn about Rob’s health in the next week figures to be critical. At issue is whether Rob can project he will close to full health for the NFL scouting combine, which will be held Feb. 24 to Match 2 in Indianapolis.
With his combination of size and strength and skills, Rob Gronkowski figures to wow scouts … as long as he is healthy.
“If he is a definite that he can be healthy and blow up the combine, the chances of him coming back are slim,” Gordon said.
“We’re waiting to see if he is going to about 90, 95 percent by combine time. Because if he can’t show his stuff, that’s not good. That’s one of the major deciders.”
Gordon said Rob will be back in Tucson next week — classes start Wednesday and the team banquet is Saturday — and a press conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. at McKale Center on Friday to announce the decision.
Gordon said that neither a possible rookie salary cap for the 2011 season nor other early entry tight ends in the 2010 draft (such as Florida’s Aaron Hernandez) would be factors in Rob’s decision.
“If Rob blows up the combine, he’ll probably be the No. 1 (tight end) picked,” Gordon said. “If we think he has a big-time shot to go in the first round, he’s coming out.”
Gronkowski caught 47 passes for 672 yards and 10 touchdowns in 10 games as a sophomore, earning third-team AP All-America honors. He was the first-team All-Pac-10 tight end.
But for all Rob’s stats and skills, even Gordon concedes that, no matter what, the back surgery “is a question mark.” NFL teams don’t necessarily like to take chances in the first round. If Rob plays at Arizona in 2010, and is healthy for the entire season, Gronkowski would be an almost no-brainer first-round selection in 2011.
“It’s just tough right now,” Gordon said of the decision.
But the family has one more week to figure it out.