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Rob Gronkowski Press Conference Transcript 9/5

New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Q: Considering what you went through last year with your injury, are you eager to get back out there on Thursday night?

RG: Yeah, I'm super excited. I mean, we've been practicing now since like July 25th, about 45 days. Just so many practices going on and on, so just super excited now to get to the game, super excited to play. It's been a while, and I just can't wait to get out there.

Q: Do you feel like you're making up for false time?

RG: I mean, I just feel like I'm ready to play. I'm just excited to play. I mean, everything's in the past that's happened before, and I'm just looking forward to the game.

*Q: Are you going to change the physical style in which you play? *

RG: No, I mean everything's been going smooth so far this year and feeling good. Just going to keep playing football like how I play.

Q: What kind of challenge does the Chiefs defense pose to your offense?

RG: They pose a big challenge, especially the front four. I mean, they can rush, they can get to the quarterback fast, they're strong, they can play the run and we're going to have to be ready mentally and physically ready for their whole defense.

Q: Yesterday Tom Brady talked about having butterflies at the start of a new season. Are you feeling those same butterflies?

RG: Oh, I mean, always going into every game you get the butterflies. Even throughout the week, you're at practice and you think, 'Wow, this is a practice game week.' You start getting the butterflies out at practice sometimes when you think about it, so it's a great feeling to have and hopefully you've got plenty of them come game time.

Q: What do you think about Nike putting out a new pair of shoes in honor of Robert Kraft and the Patriots' fifth Super Bowl?

RG: Actually, that's the first time I've heard about it, but Mr. Kraft is the best owner out there. He's great, and you know him with his shoes. He's always looking smooth and he always has a nice pair of kicks going with his suits. He's always looking smooth.

Q: Can you remember what it was like playing in your first game?

RG: I mean, that was like eight years ago, seven years ago. I mean, that was so long ago. It's a new season now, so I haven't thought about my first game in so long. So, I'm just really focused on the Chiefs.

Q: Would you guys like to ease into the game or get off to a fast start?

RG: It's pretty obvious. I mean, what team wants to start slow? Every team wants to start fast. That's the goal, to come out to a game, if you're starting on defense, if you're starting on offense, you want to start the game fast. Actually, that starts with special teams. You want to hit the field going fast and hard.

Q: For the fans, how exciting is the opening night and the Super Bowl banner unveiling?

RG: The fans - I mean, it's going to be a super great atmosphere for the fans with the banner dropping down, just the atmosphere running out of the tunnel, probably fireworks going on everywhere, probably the Air Force planes flying across. I mean, for the fans, it's going to be a great atmosphere and a great time.

Q: Do you have any awareness of Travis Kelce's style of play?

RG: He's a great player. He can get open very well and he's fast. As a player, you try to look at every tight end in the league throughout the league and try to take what you can from other tight ends. He's one of them that's up there that you want to look at.

Q: What impact does losing Julian Edelman have on this team, and how is this team equipped to make up for that?

RG: Oh yeah, we've talked about it before. You can't really replace Julian. The way he plays the game, the way he goes out there, the way he loves football is just not replaceable. I mean, just as a whole, as an offense, we've just got to step it up. It's not just going to be one guy to throw in. It's going to be a unit. It's going to be the whole offense just stepping up to fill his void.

Q: What is it about the Chiefs' aggressive style of defense that sets them apart and allows them to force turnovers?

RG: Yes, they definitely do force a lot of turnovers. They're always nagging at the ball. If it's sacking the quarterback, getting a strip sack, if it's the secondary making a great play on the ball, they're just guys that are always around the ball. And that's definitely a huge concept of the game is turnovers, so we've definitely got to be worried about that and be ready and have good ball security.

Q: What are some of the things that you've taken from Travis Kelce's play?

RG: Just how he gets open out on the field. I mean, the way he can break off defenders and get that separation. That's one thing that is huge as a receiver, as a tight end, as a running back running a route, you want that separation. He's good at the top of that route breaking out and getting that separation that you need.

Q: Is it good that he's almost like a receiver at times?

RG: I mean, that's good. If you're a tight end and they're saying you move like a receiver, that's good to hear.

Q: Do you consider yourself a leader of this team and do you like taking on that role?

RG: I mean, I don't really like to get up here and talk about a leadership role. I mean, I'm not the kind of guy that's going to stand up and say, 'I'm a leader,' but definitely going into my eighth year, I've definitely taken on way more of a role, way more responsibility than I have over the past seven years.

Q: How do you feel physically going into this season? How do you think your offseason program will pay off?

RG: I mean, I'm feeling good. Did every practice this year, everything the coaches asked me to do and just been preparing for Kansas City all week out at practice going full speed and feeling as good as you possibly can feel. I mean, you're never going to feel 100 percent, no matter what time it is throughout the football season or during camp, but feeling good to get out there, play the game and enjoy it.

Q: When's the last time you practiced in every training camp practice?

RG: I don't know. Ask Coach. I'm worried about the Chiefs. I'm not worried about when was the last time I practiced every training camp practice.

Q: You've had a number of injuries over your career. I ask in the sense of is this different than other years?

RG: I mean, it's definitely different. I didn't play last year in the season opener, and that just makes it this much more exciting for this year's.

Q: Are you leaner than previous years?

RG: I mean, a lot of people say I'm skinnier, so I guess I'm leaner. I'll take it, though. I like it. I feel leaner, so yeah, I guess I am. I'll take it, yeah. Leaner and meaner. Just being nice right now.

Q: What is the emotion like playing in the kickoff game? Is there a little bit of a different electricity in the stadium in a game like this?

RG: It's electricity for sure. I love the electricity, and I love being electric, so I like that word. But, yeah, like we said, for the fans, it's going to be a great atmosphere - everything going on, the banner drop, the fireworks. I mean, we just try to block that out because obviously we're playing a big game, we've got the Chiefs and nothing's more important than opening the kickoff and being prepared for them. But you're going to be juiced up running out of that tunnel. It's going to be loud and it's going to be fun.

Q: What are your thoughts on Roger Goodell coming to the game?

RG: Ask Tom.

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