Curran: Time to grow up, Gronk

Curran: Time to grow up, Gronk
October 20, 2013, 10:45 am
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I remember when Tedy Bruschi returned to the Patriots after having his stroke.

I can’t remember him peddling a T-shirt to the masses patting himself on the back for it, though.

I remember when Tom Brady and Wes Welker came back from torn ACLs.

I can’t remember them cutting a video in which they used their rehab to help sell sports drinks.

When Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork are ready to play again, you will know on game day.

Their agent won’t announce it two days before the game, strategically breaking the news in the morning so all their non-football business concerns can leverage the announcement for maximum exposure.

Rob Gronkowski hawked T-shirts.

And Gronk sold sports drinks.

And Drew Rosenhaus, Gronk’s celebrity agent, was dropping dimes Friday morning that Gronkowski was cleared to play and then retweeting the rehab video/juice push.

Synergy.

Hey, Gronk Inc., may be able to throw a couple more chapters on the end of Growing Up Gronk and schedule a re-release for the holidays.

It’s funny, when I read the book blurbs on Amazon for Growing Up Gronk, this one jumped out at me. “The beauty of Growing Up Gronk is that you never really have to grow up at all.” That’s from Dan Shaughnessy over at the Boston Globe.

Maybe “never” is too strong a word. Maybe it’s time for Robbie to actually grow up and take some control of Gronk Inc. Or disband the brand for a little while.

Because right now, it looks like the tail is wagging the dog and it seems as if a likable, talented kid who wouldn’t hurt a fly has been told to sit in the back seat and shut up while his “camp” turns him into a cartoon.

I think we were all willing to give Gronkowski the benefit of the doubt as he came back from his hellacious offseason of health issues.

Two broken arms, two plate insertions, an infection, two surgeries to clean that out, a back surgery. That’s a lifetime of cutting in a seven-month span. That’s awful. Think of the psychological trauma from that when you’re just 24 and opened up that many times.

Even in the past three weeks, when Gronkowski was apparently tearing it up in practice yet not cleared to play on Sunday, you could wonder but you really couldn’t question, could you?

But Friday’s money and attention grab – turning Gronk’s medical clearance into a marketing opportunity – that’s tough to stomach. And you wonder how that flies with the players in the locker room who’ve been watching him in practice and wondering what needed to happen for him to get back on the field.

Hey, maybe the T-shirts weren’t back from the printers.

All will be forgiven and forgotten once Gronk strings together a few 7-catch, 145-yard games and changes the look of the Patriots offense. That much is a given. And after all the physical stuff he’s been through, it’ll be good to see him have that reward.

Because then he’ll be back to being a football player in addition to being the star widget for Gronk Inc.