With 42 receptions for 546 yards and 10 touchdowns, there's no question that New England Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski's rookie season in the NFL was a success. He talked to WildcatAuthority.com about his rookie year, the Arizona program, and more.
WildcatAuthority.com: How would you sum up your rookie season in the NFL?
Rob Gronkowski: It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of learning, a lot of hard work and a lot of fun. I had a great time playing up there and I got some work done. I'm looking forward to keep on working hard and for next season.
WildcatAuthority.com: What was your favorite moment from your rookie year?
Rob Gronkowski: My favorite moment was being on the team, being out on the field with everyone. Winning the division was pretty cool but overall just being on the field with everyone, winning all those games with my teammates was a lot of fun and the whole thing was just awesome.
WildcatAuthority.com: What's the biggest lesson you learned a rookie?
Rob Gronkowski: The biggest lesson I learned as a rookie was to go in, work hard, be humble and learn the playbook. Going in and learning the playbook was huge. I had to go in and study every day. The biggest lesson is to work hard and be prepared.
WildcatAuthority.com: What's it like playing for coach Bilicheck?
Rob Gronkowski: It's a lot of fun. He's a great coach, he knows his football, he's super smart and pushes you to your limit to get better.
WildcatAuthority.com: What about Tom Brady, talk to me about catching passes from him.
Rob Gronkowski: It was a lot of fun. It's a great honor to be playing with him; he's one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time so it was awesome. I just have to keep working hard to get on the same page and keep building a connection with him. Overall it's just a pleasure to be playing with him and it was a lot of fun.
WildcatAuthority.com: How distracting was the Randy Moss stuff?
Rob Gronkowski: It wasn't really distracting. Everyone was just focused on their own job. I was focused on my own job and so was everyone else on the team.
WildcatAuthority.com: What was the biggest transition from college to NFL?
Rob Gronkowski: The biggest transition is overall, there's a lot more football and a lot more studying to do. Overall it was the playbook, studying more and concentrating on football 24/7, not just school.
WildcatAuthority.com: Who was the best defensive player you went up against?
Rob Gronkowski: There's a lot of good defensive players but Dwight Freeney, Clay Matthews and Ray Lewis, those three were really good. You really had to prepare well against them.
WildcatAuthority.com: At an organization like New England, it's considered a disappointment if you don't win the Super Bowl. Do you personally look at the season as a success or a failure?
Rob Gronkowski: I look at the season as a success. Obviously we didn't get to the goal we wanted to as a team but you've got to look at the season as a success. We went 14-2 in the regular season and had the best regular season record. You've got to look at it as a success, learn from it, improve on our mistakes and move forward.
WildcatAuthority.com: Do you feel you met or surpassed your own expectations?
Rob Gronkowski: Kind of both. I didn't expect to come in and start right away but I also lived up to some of my expectations because one of my goals was to work hard and get to a level where I was helping the team by doing my job, which I got to. I need to keep working hard so I can keep improving my role.
WildcatAuthority.com: Next season, how do your personal goals change?
Rob Gronkowski: I don't want to give out my personal goals but yeah I definitely have some. I definitely hit some of my personal goals as a rookie and I definitely have some moving forward into my career.
WildcatAuthority.com: Was there ever an issue with your back or did it completely heal after surgery?
Rob Gronkowski: I was 100% at all times. I had no problems; I didn't miss a practice and didn't miss a weight session. I was 100% all year and didn't have any problems at all.
WildcatAuthority.com: Do you worry about the lockout at all?
Rob Gronkowski: I pay attention to it because I need to be planning for myself but at the same time it is what it is and you still need to be training in the off-season, working hard and getting ready to go back and be ready for some football.
WildcatAuthority.com: Did you get to follow the Arizona program at all this year?
Rob Gronkowski: Yeah, I watched Arizona football this year for sure. They had a really good start. The ending was pretty rough but Arizona football is always up there and it's always in my heart. That's where I came from, the University of Arizona, so I'll always be watching and following. It's cool watching the guys on TV who I played with in my college career. I always know they're going to be competitive and I know they'll be at a high level next year too.
WildcatAuthority.com: In general, where would you say the state of the program is?
Rob Gronkowski: The state of the program is always moving forward. You've got a great coach and you've got great players. I know no one is slacking over there because they're all hard workers in the off-season and in practice. The program is always going to be moving forward because everyone is going to keep working hard and they have great coaches and great players. They'll stay stable, move upward and keep being competitive year in and year old.
WildcatAuthority.com: Do you stay in touch with any of your former teammates and coaches?
Rob Gronkowski: Yeah, I talk to everyone here and there, which is cool. No one in particular; I just kind of talk to everyone.
WildcatAuthority.com: What was your favorite memory as a player at Arizona?
Rob Gronkowski: Winning the Las Vegas Bowl my sophomore year. It was Arizona's first bowl win in 10 years, so that was pretty awesome.
WildcatAuthority.com: Any plans to come back to Tucson anytime soon?
Rob Gronkowski: Yeah, I don't really know my schedule right now but I'm definitely going to be down there, probably most likely in April.
Q&A with Rob Gronkowski
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