PEABODY, Mass. – The most infamous left arm in New England was largely covered by a plastic cast and black sling but that did little to dampen the spirits of its owner or the 450-plus children who attended his football camp.
Rob Gronkowski spent about seven minutes talking to the media at ProCamp at Bishop Fenwick High School in sweltering conditions Saturday morning, and while he and his director instructed there would no questions pertaining to his current health situation, the All-Pro tight end expressed nothing but excitement to be working with so many eager kids.
"The camp is cool. As a kid growing up -- I never did a camp or anything," Gronkowski said. "I started off in high school going to big-time college camps to start and get recruited. It's cool to see everyone out here just running around having a good time. We've got a lot of high school coaches around here that know what they're doing, we've got the ProCamp guys and they all love their football. We're having a blast and it's going well."
His surgically repaired arm prevented him from actively participating in the drills, otherwise he would have been "out there running around with the kids," but he and his brother, Browns tight end Dan, and his father, Gordon, were involved in the camp.
Asked how he answers questions from his campers regarding his potential return from the arm surgery as well as a reported back procedure he's to undergo later this month, Gronkowski answered with a smile.
"I just tell them every time, 'we'll see.' Obviously I tell the kids, 'you'll see me out there again one day,'" Gronkowski said. "That's all, no guarantee answer to them, I just mess around and I'm just here to have a good time with them."
The tight end said the enthusiasm of the campers is uplifting given his current state of health, and he explained how much being on hand for the two-day event is beneficial to him as much as anyone.
"You just see everyone having a great time, the parents in the stands, they're all happy, all smiling, their kids are out here doing the camp, having a good time during the day on this beautiful day here," he said. "It brings up my spirits too, seeing the kids running around, having a blast, just happy to see me. Even though I'm not even participating, they're just happy to see me.
"I don't really back out of anything ever and what would it take for me to [not] come out here?" he concluded with a smile. "If I were in like a body bag or something."