Since entering the NFL in 2010, Rob Gronkowski has played in 98 games (including the playoffs).
Over that same span, Tom Brady has played in 124 games. That's despite the four-game suspension he had to endure to start the 2016 season.
Gronk is 28 years old.
Brady will turn 40 later this week.
See what I'm getting at here? While most professional athletes become more injury-prone the longer their career drags on, the opposite seems to be true in the case of Brady. Since Gronkowski's NFL career to date has been riddled with injuries, he's hoping to follow in the footsteps of his quarterback.
As such, Gronkowski spent much of the offseason training at TB12 Sports Therapy Center with Alex Guerrero, Brady's longtime trainer. While Brady's strict health routine might seem a contrast to Gronk's reputation as a party animal, Gronkowski is enamored with the longevity of his teammate. Perhaps sitting on the sideline of Super Bowl LI served as a wakeup call to the All-Pro tight end.
"Just looking at Tom, seeing what he does every day, what he eats, talking to him, personally one-on-one, just learning about the body with him, just seeing how flexible he is, how pliable he is, how loose he is all the time, every day and ready to go, I just felt like it was the time in my career where I needed to devote myself at all levels," Gronkowski recently told the Boston Herald. "I just felt like I had to add on to what I was doing. Find a way that my body will respond so I can perform every day. Be in prevention mode for injuries happening."
The work Gronkowski does at TB12 is a supplement to the team-mandated routine he follows at the Patriots' facility. According to the Herald, the program Guerrero created for Gronkowski includes lots of resistance band work and deep-tissue massage. Brady's a huge believer in "muscle pliability"—an umbrella term that entails things like flexibility, mobility, neural tone and muscle length-tension relationship. Gronkowski claims great improvements in these areas since he started working with Guerrero in May.
"I haven't lost a single pound. But my body is working more efficiently. Everyone thinks I'm skinnier," Gronkowski said. "I feel looser. I feel my mobility has increased a lot. I feel way more pliable."
Diet also plays a huge role in Brady's regimen, and while Gronkowski says he isn't quite as obsessive as Brady in that department, he is moving in the right direction. He tries to eat one meal a day that mirrors Brady's plant-based approach, and the quarterback will often cook it for him. "I told him I'm only eating them if you have them ready for me," Gronkowski said. "He sad, 'Deal.'"
Gronkowski hasn't given up alcohol, but Guerrero has a method to counteract its effects. From the Herald:
For every drink that's not on the plan, such as coffee or an alcoholic beverage, you have to consume at least three glasses of water to make up for cheating, to offset the ramifications. So, let's just say Gronk is drinking tons of water.
"Rob has been really committed," Guerrero told the Herald. "He's done a great job. The foundation has been set. Certainly, we're not done." Early reports indicate that Gronk has been moving very well during training camp. Just when you thought the Patriots offense couldn't get any more intimidating.
Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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