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Brady: Low Tackle on Gronk Not ‘Dirty,’ the ‘Only Way for Defenders to Hit Now’

Rob Gronkowski writhed, beat the turf, and egressed to the x-ray room on a cart late last night. But early reports this morning say reports of his demise are greatly exaggerated.

The Patriots tight end received a hit to his knee by Broncos safety Darian Stewart in the fourth quarter of the 30-24 Denver win. Two years ago, Gronk tore his ACL and MCL on the same right knee from a similar hit by Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward, now a teammate of Stewart. The oft-injured 26-year-old appeared done for not just the game, but the season as well.

“I was just trying to dislodge the ball,” insisted Stewart. “You never want to see anyone get hurt.”

The injury left Tom Brady with just one of his top six receivers. But the banged-up New England offense struggled throughout much of the second half with Gronk on the field. Brady connected for a first-quarter touchdown with Gronkowski, who finished the game with six catches for 88 yards. The quarterback wondered aloud about the unintended consequences of the NFL making high hits taboo.

“It’s really the only way for defenders to hit now,” Brady lamented. “I bet you if you asked probably a lot of the players, they’d probably rather you go high than low. But when you go low, that’s what happens. I don’t think it’s dirty. I just think that’s the way football is being played now.”

The reigning Super Bowl MVP discussed how Gronkowski and other football players sacrifice their bodies. “You risk a lot to play,” Brady pointed out.

“He’s the best tight end in football,” New England’s quarterback maintained. “So, it’s so hard to see these guys get hurt like this.”

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