Gronkowski on Miami game return: I wasn't that confident

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Gronkowski on Miami game return: I wasn't that confident

Rob Gronkowski made the rounds on Radio Row at Super Bowl XLVII Thursday. While on WEEI's Mut & Merloni show, the Patriots tight end gave an update on his twice-surgically repaired forearm.
The arms doing all right; just casted it up, he said. Got a lot of time to heal now. So, theres no hurry, no rush. Just taking it week by week and day by day, and just getting it stronger every day. So, Im improving every week. Its the offseason now, so, no time to rush it. Get it 100-percent before camp starts.
Gronkowski's season ended after he re-fractured his left arm in New England's 41-28 Divisional Playoff win over Houston. The injury occurred when he landed hard trying to catch a pass during the Patriots' second series of the game.

Right when I landed obviously I was in huge pain, he recalled. I knew there was something wrong right when I hit. I just wasnt sure what it was because sometimes you get a stinger, sometimes you get a charley horse and they go away after two minutes they just hurt real bad, real quick for like two minutes. So, I was just hoping it was that, like a quick stinger, hitting your joint in your elbow or something where it just numbs your arm real quick. I was just hoping it was one of those. But the pain wasnt going away, obviously, and obviously it broke.
It wasnt the way I wanted to go out. Definitely it wasnt. It is what it was. Thats what happened.
The arm originally broke November 18 in New England's game against Indianapolis. Gronkowski missed the team's next five games before returning to action in the season finale.
The Patriots beat Miami that December day, but the tight end had just two catches in his comeback. It appeared, just by the way he was blocking, that Gronkowski wasn't playing at full capacity. He admitted as much on Thursday.
I really wasnt that confident obviously going in, because obviously I was using one hand, as you can see, he said. I was just getting used to it and all, just getting used to the flow of the game again, its good to get the speed down and all that, and just getting me prepared going into the playoffs, playing in that Miami game.
If the doctors didnt clear me and they said it wasnt smart to play in the Miami game, then I wouldnt have. But the doctors cleared me and they said I was good to go. Obviously I want to be out there whenever I can get out there. So, right when they said I was cleared, I was definitely ready to go.
The Houston game came two weeks later.
Despite the second break, the subsequent setback, Gronkowski maintains he has zero regrets about taking the field for the postseason.
I couldnt really tell you if it was healed or not," he said. "It felt good. Just going into the playoff game I felt ready, I felt confident about it. Like I said, it was just a freak accident. It didnt go the way I planned. It broke in a different spot."

Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

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Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

CINCINNATI -- For most of the game, A.J. Green piled up more yards than the entire Miami Dolphins offense in a virtuoso performance. As an encore, he thrilled the crowd by juggling some Florida citrus.

The Bengals receiver followed his disappointing game with a dominating one - 173 yards and a touchdown - and a Cincinnati defense that was inspired by Vontaze Burfict's return clamped down on the Dolphins for a 22-7 victory Thursday night.

The Bengals (2-2) rebounded from a 29-17 home loss to Denver on Sunday with a solid all-around game against a depleted team.

Green led the way, beating the Dolphins (1-3) on every type of route . He was upset with himself after he dropped a pivotal third-down pass and failed to make an impact against the Broncos.

"I hold myself to a very high standard," said Green, who had 10 catches. "I know what I'm capable of. Last week I didn't perform to that level. I had to refocus on a short week."

During the first three quarters, Green had 166 yards on catches while Miami had 152 total yards. The Bengals' season-long problem of stalling out near the goal line forced them to settle for Mike Nugent's season-high five field goals.

Afterward, Green and Andy Dalton appeared on the postgame show, and the receiver entertained the dozens of Bengals fans who stayed around by smoothly juggling three oranges at the interview desk.

"Any time he was one-on-one, he was able to make the play," Dalton said.

The Dolphins were missing four starting offensive linemen, two linebackers, running back Arian Foster and tight end Jordan Cameron. They had one big play - Ryan Tannehill threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills - but couldn't do anything else on offense.

"We've got to get it fixed and quick, and by that I mean Monday," Tannehill said. "We're kind of in a dark spot right now. It's squarely on our shoulders."

The Bengals' defense expected to get a lift from Burfict's return. The volatile linebacker was suspended by the NFL for the first three games because of his illegal hits. He got a loud ovation when he ran onto the field during introductions wearing a baseball cap. Burfict knocked down a pass and had three tackles.

"He's amazing," end Carlos Dunlap said. "Did you see the plays he made? Those aren't plays you can coach. He came off his couch and played great. It's good to have him back."

Mostly, it was Green's show. He caught a 51-yard pass off Dalton's scramble in the first half, and had a 43-yard catch that set up another field goal in the third quarter for a 19-7 lead.

REMEMBERING FERNANDEZ

A large fan banner in the upper deck at Paul Brown Stadium honored Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died with two friends in a boat crash early Sunday near Miami Beach. The banner read: "Jose 16 Heaven's Bright."

STILL CAN'T RUN

The Bengals rushed for 77 yards and only a 2.1-yard average against the second-worst run defense in the league, one missing two starting linebackers.

SLOPPY DOLPHINS

Miami had seven penalties for 68 yards. The most egregious was by Terrence Fede, who pushed Kevin Huber to the ground after he punted in the third quarter. The penalty gave Cincinnati the ball, and the Bengals got a field goal out of it.

INJURIES

Dolphins: LT Branden Albert and C Anthony Steen were inactive with sprained ankles. Also missing were LBs Koa Misi (neck) and Jelani Jenkins (groin). C Mike Pouncey has missed all four games with a hip injury.

Bengals: TE Tyler Eifert was inactive again, contributing to the Bengals' trouble close to the goal line. He's recovering from offseason ankle surgery and returned to practice on a limited basis last week. CB Dre Kirkpatrick was inactive with a hamstring injury suffered Sunday. G Clint Boling sat out most of the fourth quarter with an injured left shoulder.

ANTHEM STATEMENTS

Stills and Dolphins safety Michael Thomas knelt with their hands over their hearts during the anthem.

FANTASY IMPACT

Tannehill was 15 of 25 for 189 yards with a touchdown, an interception, a fumble and five sacks. Dalton was 22 of 31 for 296 yards with a touchdown and a sack.

UP NEXT

The Dolphins begin a stretch of four straight home games against Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and the New York Jets.

The Bengals have a tough two-game stretch, playing Dallas and New England on the road. They're 1-5 in Dallas, dropping their last three. They've dropped their last six at New England, last winning in 1986.