There are not many opponents Gronk can't handle. The dude is a beast and a force of nature on the football field, and this week, the world found out he is a force of nature in nature too.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Shark Week is the best week of the summer, and it got even better for Patriots fans when Gronk joined Dr. Neil Hammerschlag and his team to tag tiger sharks in the Bahamas. On "Monster Tag," which aired Monday night, Gronk, Aaron Rodgers and Lindsey Vonn all learn what it's like to come face to face with sharks.
Gronk's journey starts with an exploratory dive into the protected waters of the Bahamas. The conservation status of tiger sharks is "near threatened," and Dr. Hammerschlag explains that they would be tagging tiger sharks to track where they go in order to protect the next generation.
This means Gronk needs to get in the shark-swarmed waters.
"What's the worst thing that's going to happen to me? Only my arm is going to be missing, my hand might be missing, my foot, my calf," Gronk said, half joking.
The initial jump in the water is meant to determine if it was a good spot to find tiger sharks, and as it turns out, it is. In no time, Gronk and Dr. Hammersclag are swarmed. One even gets "eye to eye" with Gronk, close enough for him to touch it as it swims away.
"I see a shark just swim by me about five feet," he said. "I'm telling you, being underwater with a shark, I've never had my heartbeat feel like that ever before."
And that's the easy part.
Knowing this is a good area to find tiger sharks, the crew calls in backup, and they prepare to bait, capture, tag and release a shark. Before reeling in a tiger shark, the crew gets practice with a smaller lemon shark. Gronk provides extra muscle for them as they pull the shark up and tag it.
"Science! I'm part of science," Gronk said. "Who would have ever thought?"
With one shark tagging under his belt, Gronk is ready for the main event. A tiger shark goes for the bait, and Gronk helps pull it up, grabbing the shark's tail to steady it and prevent it from thrashing around as the team tags it.
"I scoop my hand around the tiger shark's body. It's slimy. It's strong," Gronk said. "It's ready to break you ... Gronk vs. shark, and so far I'm winning. I don't want to talk [expletive] too early."
With the tag about halfway secured, the tiger shark begins to put up a fight, but they reel her in. To make sure she is released safely, Dr Hammerschlag and Gronk have to jump in the water again, and as the narrator ominously explains, free diving with a shark at surface level is very dangerous.
But it's nothing that Gronk can't handle. After a quick check, she's good to go, and Gronk is able to celebrate a most unusual win.
"Seeing that tiger shark swim away, it was a beautiful thing. The satellite tag will give us information so we can track its whereabouts in the future so we can protect it. It's a win," he said. "I can tell you this, coming out here and learning about sharks, they've been so misunderstood, it's ridiculous -- kind of like me. I know you probably just think sharks are scary, just out there to eat people, but I'm telling you, they're awesome and they're beautiful. I'm going to name the tiger shark that we tagged and released Mrs. Tiger Gronk."
Hey, it's got a nice ring to it.
You can watch the entire episode on Discovery.com.