Rob Gronkowski has been critical of preseason games in the past, and with Odell Beckham Jr.'s recent ankle injury, it's hard to blame him. However, Gronkowski is a new man in 2017, and he wants everyone to know it.
"I'm glad I was out there. It felt good just to get the game speed," Gronkowski said. "You can never get enough reps. You can never get enough practice reps. So it felt great to go out there and get my feet wet and see what it's all about again."
Gronkowski didn't get a ton of reps against the Texans, but he seemed to feel that what he got was useful. "I just felt the benefit when I was out there; the speed of the game, live game speed. It's been a while for me," he said of his 14 snaps. "I felt the benefit of getting in sync blocking-wise, the cadence and everything like that. I'm taking all positives out of it."
This is a far cry from Gronkowski's 2015 attitude towards preseason, in which he said that practice covered what he needed to know. "If you're going full speed in practice, that can get you super ready for Week 1."
Preseason isn't the only thing affected by Gronk's new attitude. Gronkowski said that he's adopted Tom Brady's absurdly restrictive diet. Like anything else, Gronkowski said that some foods were "kind of hard to eat" and others were "really really good." The diet bans coffee and alcohol, which Gronkowski doesn't have a problem with now that the season is in swing.
"I don't do that stuff right now. It's football time. I never really have done that stuff during football time," he said.
Gronkowski, heading into his eighth season and coming off of a back surgery, seems to be taking prolonging his career extremely seriously. Although injuries are always a concern for a player that has his knees targeted constantly, it's clear that he wants to play as long as possible -- and he's taking the steps to prove it.