Perception is reality. Well, no, not quite; perception is what we choose to believe the reality is. What our reality is. And quite often our reality is molded by our experiences and biases.
This is why when the perception of a player becomes reality, it's often unfair. And that's the case with my perception of Rob Gronkowski.
My perception is: Gronk has something to prove.
Does he really, Gary? you're probably saying now. Like what? He's an All Pro who had a record-breaking second season and has averaged 10.5 touchdowns a year. In the Patriots' 2011 Super Bowl loss to the Giants he needled up and played, even though he couldn't feel his left foot. The reality is, Gronk has done everything right when it comes to proving his worth. Every thing in his power, that is.
Still, I -- unfairly -- perceive Gronk has something to prove: He has to prove he can stay healthy.
Tell me, Gary, you retort, how the hell does a football player do that? Stay healthy, that is. What is he supposed to do? Eat his Wheaties every morning and take his Flintstone chewables? We're not talking about the common cold. We're talking about a blown-out knee and a busted-up forearm. How do you prevent that? Besides, even with a bad back, he didn't miss a game in his first two seasons.
So why can’t I focus on his first two seasons, as opposed to the last two? The knee doesn’t bother me; Wes Welker came back just as good as new from the same injury. The forearm worries me because it's been reported -- and I've been told -- it will never be the same. But who knows the hell knows?
Well then, Gary, you point out, the injuries aren't chronic. He should recover. What's your problem?
You've made some good points. My perception, I admit, is unrealistic. But have you won me over?
No. My perception, my reality.
Gronk has to prove he can stay on the damn field.