MINNEAPOLIS — One of the narratives all week long here at Super Bowl LII has been, "oh, don’t worry about Gronk, you know he’s going to play."
But the other side of that story has been, with all of the focus on concussion protocol right now, there is no way an independent neurologist was going to clear the All-Pro tight end unless all of Gronkowski's symptoms were in fact gone.
So imagine mine and it seems half or more of NFL enthusiasts' relief when it was announced early Thursday afternoon that Rob Gronkowski had been cleared to play in Super Bowl LII and that he would be allowed to meet the media for the first time at 4:15.
Finally, the party could begin.
Talk about a circus. Hundreds of writers, broadcasters, camera people and photographers pushed and shoved to stake out a piece of turf in front of the riser with Gronk’s name on it. When the man himself entered the room, it literally felt as if a cheer went up and a collective sigh escaped the crowd as the man who plays the position and charms the media like nobody else arrived at his own personal microphone.
"Hey, Rob, how did it feel to get the news?" the first scribe yelled.
“I would say they were more on the cautious side of getting me out there right away with the bye week and everything in between, said Gronkowski, "which definitely helped out big time.
“But I just did everything step-by-step every day, and everything went smooth, and I officially got the word today that I was cleared.
“So it was super nice to hear from the doctors after going through the whole process that I was ready to roll.”
A talking head from Boston TV wanted to know how the first practice went and what Tom Brady had to say when he got the news, and then Gronk spilled the beans as it seems only Gronk can.
“We knew the whole time that I was going to be good to go," he said. "I was progressing really good throughout the week, throughout the practice week. So I just, he [Brady] just knew that I was going to be ready, so we’re just practicing like we always do.”
New England actually won one of these super deals last year without Gronk, so was it even more important to him to make sure he got back this year?
“I’m super excited. I’m just always excited to be able to get back out there on the field, and it’s just one more opportunity this year to go out there and play the game I love to play.
“I’m just happy to be back out there with the boys.”
Things could have gotten serious when Gronkowski was asked if he was mad about the shot he took from Jaguars S causing the concussion, but the questioner had never met his subject before.
“It’s football! It is what it is. It’s a split second to make a decision, and it’s running full speed one way, I’m going the other way — it’s just part of the game. It happens and you’ve just got to move on.”
And then just when you expected Gronkowski to ask everyone else what the hell you’re all so serious about, he summed up what this is really all about better than anyone else has all week long.
“All the players are in it together, all the coaches are in it together, the whole organization is in it together.
"We’ve all stuck together from the very beginning, and we just knew we had to take one week at a time. I mean it’s just not a process, boom, you hit the switch and you’re in the Super Bowl.
"It’s a process throughout the last seven months. We put the work in. We put the dedication in. We put our bodies on the line. We put the time in, and it’s a process throughout the last seven months of OTAs, offseason workouts, training camp, every single day grinding, week-to-week during the season.
“It’s just a whole process that leads up to this week, this moment.”
Yep, there’s a lot more to Gronk than most people know.