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'It's go time' for Gronkowski, Patriots

Less than a week ago, the much anticipated reworked contract between the Patriots and All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski came to fruition.

The deal reportedly added $4.3 million in various incentives to the ninth-year veteran's plate for 2018, giving him the chance to earn as much $13 million this season.

"It's definitely a relief to have that all out of the way," Gronkowski said early in a press conference Tuesday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, trying his best to swiftly move on from the topic. "That was last week, now that's in the past, which is good. Gonna put my main focus on the Houston Texans now."

A follow-up question pondered whether negotiations on the deal weighed on Gronkowski, who remained away from voluntary OTAs this spring after talking about possible retirement in the immediacy of the Super Bowl loss to the Eagles last February.

"It didn't weigh on me at all. Everything is always in the works," Gronkowski said of how the deal finally came together. "Nothing is just going to happen in a day, something like that. So, it's in the past now. It happened last week. It's go time now, that's all."

A year ago Gronkowski nearly doubled his take-home pay in a reworked contract that paid him almost $11 million thanks to his All-Pro performance. Again this fall he could be the highest paid tight end in the game if he reaches all the incentives that include game roster bonuses as well as play time and performance incentives.

Still, it's money that pales in comparison to some of the monster contracts handed out in recent weeks across the NFL, including some to players who decided to hold out to get what they wanted.

Gronkowski made it clear that tactic wasn't for him.

"I'm super satisfied with my situation," Gronkowski said. "If I wasn't I'd try to pull a move like they do, which works out, they get rewarded for holding out. But I'm not frustrated at all or anything. I'm super satisfied and just ready to go, ready to play. That's my main focus."

That's good, because Gronkowski will once again be expected to be the focal point of New England's Tom Brady-led passing attack. He may even be leaned on more heavily given the four-game suspension for Julian Edelman to open the season as well was the lack of proven options and depth at the wide receiver position overall.

Gronkowski won't admit to feeling any added pressure to carry a bigger part of the load heading into the new season.

"There is always pressure around this building, no matter what the situation is," Gronkowski said. "When you lose a guy, for example when they lose me out there on the field, the goal is to just keep on maintaining what you are doing. Keep on focusing on what you have to do. Whatever the coaches come with, if they want you to do more then you can focus on that and just keep focusing on your job. No matter who is in there and who is not, I just have to keep focusing on my job and keep helping the team the best way I can. So it's never really like 'I have to do more. I have to do this more. I have to do this better.' Because I'm always trying to do that. So you just have to keep doing your job and keep playing well no matter who's around, who's in."

It's that can-do attitude that Gronkowski plans to bring with him to Sunday afternoon's opener at Gillette Stadium against J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and the rest of the Texans talented defense.

"They're unreal talents. They are great players. You definitely need help to block those guys," Gronkowski said of a possible dual role against Houston. "If that's what coaches ask me to do, if that's the play they call, I have to go in there and I have to get my nose dirty. I have to do what they need me to do for this team. If it's to block whoever, maybe help out an offensive lineman, help out a tackle before I go out on a route, I just have to get out there and get dirty with it."

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