, Salem, MA


January 29, 2012

Fun-loving Gronk all business on field for Pats



"That catch," Brady said, "was a phenomenal catch, but he's been making those all year. So, really, it doesn't surprise us as much because he's able to make those type of plays in practice and training camp, so you get used to it after a while."

After the game, Gronkowski was asked if he enjoys playing against teams with talkative defenders like Baltimore, the next opponent.

"I like playing against anyone," he said.

Gronkowski's teammates are confident he'll play in the Super Bowl after suffering what his father said was a high left ankle sprain in the third quarter of a 23-20 win over the Ravens in the AFC championship game.

He skipped practice on Thursday and Friday, but Slater said: "There's not too many guys tougher than him out there. So I would imagine he's going to do everything he can to be out there."

The 2010 second-round draft pick from Arizona set an NFL single-season record for tight ends with 17 touchdown catches this season. His 90 receptions were fifth in the NFL and his 1,327 yards receiving were sixth.

New York's cornerbacks are all at least six inches shorter than the 6-foot-6 Gronkowski, and the Patriots have another dangerous tight end in Aaron Hernandez.

So what's the plan for stopping Gronkowski?

"Get a ladder, probably," Giants coach Tom Coughlin joked. "This is a very gifted tight end and there's two of them, as you know. He's had an outstanding career and rewritten some of the record books along the way and has done a very good job of making the big-play catch as well. He's become someone that Brady looks to go to in certain areas of the field as well, certainly in the red zone."

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