Growing up with four brothers, Rob Gronkowski spent a good portion of his childhood in pain. It might seem like Rob should be able to hold his own – after all, he’s 6-6, 265 – but his brothers, well, they were pretty big, too.
Chris Gronkowski will play for the San Diego Chargers this year, Dan will play for the Cleveland Browns, Glenn hopes to one day play in the NFL and Gordie used to play professional baseball.
To put it in layman’s terms, they’re all big dudes – and Rob was never afraid to get his brothers riled up.
“They all fought, but I would say probably Rob was in the middle of a lot of it,” Rob’s father, Gordy Gronkowski, said on The Damon Amendolara Show. “Rob took everybody to the limit and those guys used to pound on him pretty good, and he’d get back up. The kid just loved pain. It was crazy, his pain tolerance. And I never could get it, but he just loved it. They’d beat him up and then he’d get back up and go right back at it again. He said he did it, basically, to prepare for the NFL.”
Gronkowski has broken his forearm twice in the NFL, he’s had four surgeries on it, he’s had back surgery and he’s had ankle surgery. Heck, even in college at Arizona, he had surgery to remove part of his spine that was putting pressure on a nerve.
In all, Gronkowski has had six surgeries since February 2012, including five since November 2012.
“It’s a concern; it’s definitely a concern,” said Gordy, who is in the midst of a media tour promoting his book, Growing up Gronk: A Family’s Story of Raising Champions. “You hate to see your son ever have that. The bottom line is, it’s part of the game. And Rob, right now, he’s been in the wrong spot at the wrong time. But the bottom line is how he plays (this) game. He plays crazy. He’s reckless with his body and he’s not afraid to throw it in there at any time. He plays a different style, but that’s what makes him great. So do you tell him to back off? No, you can’t. And Rob’s not going to back off.”
Gordy said he prays every week that nothing happens to Rob – or any of his boys.
“That’s the biggest thing having four kids in that profession,” he said. “You just pray that nothing happens to them. And hopefully Rob is out of that surgery room and doesn’t need any more.”
While Rob certainly hopes to avoid the injury report, the 24-year-old also hopes to avoid the headlines – especially for non-football news. He caused an uproar in February 2012 when he danced at a club mere hours after losing in the Super Bowl – a game in which he was hobbled by a bad ankle.
Gordy said Rob was dancing with his brother.
“It’s a shame they can’t have the fun that they’re used to having because it’s harmless fun,” Gordy said. “They’re not hurting anyone, they’re not breaking the law; they’re just having fun amongst each other. I tell them to tame it down and (all) that, but I still don’t see that they’re really doing any wrong. Then (Rob) gets a bad rap sometimes.”
Rob also found himself in hot water when a picture surfaced of him posing shirtless with porn star Bibi Jones, who was wearing his jersey. Gordy said Jones is the girlfriend of one of Rob’s friends.
“That got blown up, too,” Gordy said. “He was just having fun with it, but again, that got blown out of proportion. He’s just got to realize who he is now. We’re all coping with that every day.”