Rob has bounced back after 6 surgeries to play the best ball of his career

Gronk worked harder than he partied, something his friends insist got overlooked as his public image evolved… On road trips he would arrive at the team hotel and go into a plank pose—a taxing yoga posture—for long stretches. He’d cook broccoli or mixed vegetables with almost every meal.

Former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien recalls Gronk’s consistently running 30 or 40 extra routes with Tom Brady after practice. “He’s one of the hardest-working guys I’ve ever been around,” O’Brien says.

This combo has the Pats playing for another AFC Championship on Sunday

Rob Gronkowski arrives in the Patriots’ locker room by 7 a.m. every day and doesn’t walk around so much as he bounces, like a puppy let outside after his owner’s long hours at work.

Gronk also brought an intense focus to each tedious rehab session, which began with quad-muscle flexes and then progressed to simple leg lifts. Five or six days into his rehab, Gronkowski began trending back toward his usual puppy-dog optimism. He worked up to reps on a recumbent bicycle and soon requested a higher level, but Donahue held him back. To challenge himself, Gronkowski curled 35-pound barbells while working his leg on the bike. “He felt like he had to earn everything, which I really admire,” Donahue says.

Gronk lit up the Pac-12 for the Wildcats from 2007-2009

On some mornings Garabedian arrived before 7 a.m. to see Gronkowski waiting for him. Other days, Gronkowski would call and say he didn’t feel like coming, only to walk in the door a minute later saying, “Gotcha!”

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