|Gronkowski had two touchdowns Monday. On the second score (above) he narrowly avoided serious injury. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is one of Tom Brady's favorite targets, which also qualifies him as one of the league's best pass-catchers. That's one of the benefits to playing in New England's offense. For the season, the second-year player out of Arizona has 56 receptions for 805 yards and 10 touchdowns, including a season long 52-yard score against the Chiefs Monday night. He is, as our CBSSports.com colleague Mike Freeman explains, "a special player with unforgettable talent."
But it was Gronkowski's second touchdown, a 19-yarder in the third quarter, that left him groggy after he landed awkwardly on his neck.
Gronkowski says he's fine after landing on his neck in the end zone.
Following the game, Gronkowski was asked if he remembered the touchdown.
“I remember the moment and everything,” Gronkowski said, via Larry Brown Sports (by way of PFT). “If I didn’t I still wouldn’t even say I didn’t. I’m trying to play this week.”
Gronkowski, who's listed at 6-6, 265, later joked about what could've been a serious injury. On the bench after the play, the Patriots' training staff checked him for concussion-like symptoms.
"Yeah, they kept asking me, and I started throwing out my own math problems," Gronkowski said, according to ESPN.com. "I was like, 'Dude, I can count to 10,' and I started counting to 10," he said. "That's pretty easy though, so they kept letting me play."
It's easier to laugh knowing that Gronkowski is okay. And while we applaud him for his toughness, confessing that he'd lie to stay in the game is a problem for a league committed to making the game as safe as possible (obvious exception: the 18-game schedule).
As PFT's Michael David Smith pointed out, Gronkowski's not alone. Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning have said previously that they'd tell the doctors what they want to hear to get back on the field.
One solution: in-game concussion tests. If the NFL truly is serious about head injuries, that should be (ahem) a no-brainer.
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