When Tom Brady returned to New England on Sunday night, representing the Buccaneers and beating his old team in their own stadium, he did it without another former big-name Patriot in Rob Gronkowski. The star tight end didn't travel with Tampa Bay while recovering from rib and lung injuries suffered the week prior. But you can bet he watched from home, from the edge of his seat.
"I was jumping up and down, I was screaming," Gronkowski told CBS Sports this week. "My jitters were up and down, and I was cheering for the Bucs left and right. I'm proud of my teammates, especially going back home there, where the atmosphere seemed unbelievable ... The game was incredible. I think if you're a football fan, that was awesome."
Gronk spoke with CBS Sports in partnership with King entertainment, serving as a celebrity competitor in the company's first-ever Candy Crush All Stars U.S. tournament. Hosted by Khloe Kardashian and open to any "Candy Crush" gamers, the tourney recently deployed Gronk in a commercial for the event.
"I spiked a candy bomb, kaboom," Gronk says of his involvement. "I'm always spiking. I'm spiking footballs, I'm spiking candy bombs."
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But he's really itching to get back on the field. Cracked ribs and a punctured lung kept Gronk out of Week 4, and all signs point to the Pro Bowl tight end staying sidelined for the foreseeable future.
"I'm feeling good," he said. "But I'm just going week by week -- day by day -- to get ready, whether it's next week, the week after that, or the week after that. And let me tell you, I miss it. I miss being out there with the boys."
Tampa Bay hosts the Dolphins this Sunday, then visits the Eagles on a short week the following Thursday, before returning home to host the Bears in Week 7. The Bucs' bye comes two weeks later, in Week 9.
When Gronk does return, he's confident he'll be firing on all cylinders, in large part because of his quarterback.
"I truly believe he's in his prime," he said of the 44-year-old Brady. "He has basically perfected the method on how to be ready for a game."