Why tight ends are ‘The Blood and Guts' of the NFL with author Ty Dunne


Rob Gronkowski is a four-time Super Bowl champion, four-time First Team All-Pro selection, and a slam-dunk future Hall of Famer. He holds a handful of NFL records, including the most total touchdowns in a season by a tight end with 18.

But Gronk's incredible legacy extends beyond championships and individual accolades. The former New England Patriots tight end helped to save the sport of football.

Tyler Dunne, author of the forthcoming book "The Blood and Guts: How Tight Ends Save Football", joined our Phil Perry on a new episode of the Next Pats Podcast to discuss Gronkowski's enormous impact on the NFL. He explains that with help from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, No. 87 transcended the tight end position and changed the game for the better.

Next Pats Podcast: Why tight ends are "The Blood and Guts" of the NFL with author Ty Dunne | Listen & Follow | Watch on YouTube

"When people read this book, Bill Belichick comes up again and again. He knew how dangerous the tight end could be in the run game and the pass game before anyone. He was on the cutting edge of that," Dunne told Perry. "Even Ben Coates, early in his career, Bill Belichick's just beating the hell out of him when he was in Cleveland. He was sending all his linebackers -- two, three guys -- just knocking him off the line because he knew Ben Coates, it all started with him.

"So you fast-forward, he identifies Rob Gronkowski, he knows this is a rare weapon. So here you drop in the 6-foot-6, 265, 270 (pound) absolute freak of a conquistador seeking out helpless DBs, blasting through them. Gronk basically just blasted through the sport of football in every conceivable way, and that physically was needed at that time. The sport needed Rob Gronkowski right when the sport was becoming something else that wasn't football, and we loved him for it. Everybody did. And then really, George Kittle took the baton from Rob Gronkowski and continued on."

In Chapter 14 of "The Blood and Guts: How Tight Ends Save Football", Dunne does a deep dive into Gronkowski's wild childhood with his brothers Dan, Chris, Glenn and Gordie Jr. and how it made him the player and person the world grew to love during his football career. Dunne also covers Gronk's unique road to the NFL, Belichick giving the party animal the freedom to be himself, and how Gronk forced the NFL to adjust to him, not the other way around.

To learn more about how Gronkowski helped save football, you can read the excerpt from Dunne's  "The Blood and Guts: How Tight Ends Save Football" below. The book is set to be released on Oct. 18.

Below is an excerpt from Chapter 14, “Yo Soy Fiesta,” in The Blood and Guts: How Tight Ends Save Football, out Oct. 18. You can pre-order your copy at Amazon or wherever books are sold.

Inside the green room at Radio City Music Hall in New York City — in a pinstriped suit, with his hair gelled — Rob Gronkowski held the phone to his ear, received the news, and wasted zero time living like there’s no tomorrow.

Most of America met Rob Gronkowski for the first time that night on national television and realized instantly this was a different species.

Because in this habitat, the green room, it gets lonely.

Players get drafted, families clear out, you can hear a pin drop. This was where a pale, sad Aaron Rodgers spent an eternity in 2005. Yet the second after Gronkowski stuffed the phone back in his pocket, all Gronks popped to their feet and huddled around the table. Faces inches apart, in a pseudo rugby scrum, they shouted in unison “Woo! Woo! Woo!” while jumping up and down. Rob hugged Dad to his right and Mom to his left, and dapped up his brothers.

Off to the main stage he went to meet commissioner Roger Goodell, clutching a New England Patriots helmet. Even the way he held hands with Goodell was different. Gronkowski locked the commish’s knuckles in a death grip, appearing to more so flex the guns for a Facebook profile pic. On ESPN, Mel Kiper Jr. pooh-poohed the pick, calling Gronkowski “stiff.” He was surprised the Patriots didn’t select a linebacker like Sergio Kindle or Daryl Washington. On NFL Network, Mike Mayock compared him to the top tight end taken the year prior, Brandon Pettigrew. Gronkowski was greeted by Deion Sanders for his first-ever TV interview as a pro and Sanders began by joking that Gronkowski nearly dislocated his shoulder bringing him in for a hug.

“Man, I’m so fired up, man,” Gronkowski said. “This is a great organization. I love all the coaches, all the players, it’s awesome. I’m going to have one of the best quarterbacks ever in the league throwing me the ball. This is the greatest moment of my life, man. It’s unbelievable.”

The rest of the Gronks soon appeared for pictures. Rob leapt into the air to chest-bump Dad, popped that helmet on and — with all the brothers chanting “Gronk Gronk! Gronk!”— screamed a rebel yell into a camera that served as a warning to the entire league.

Rob Gronkowski was coming for blood.

Year 1 was solid. He caught 42 balls, 10 of them for touchdowns. On Thanksgiving Day, he motioned down the line and, with one blinding crackback, sent Detroit Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch crumbling to the turf with a bulging disc in his neck. “He didn’t even mean to do it,” wide receiver Julian Edelman recalls. “He was just having fun and was being a beast. It was pretty gnarly.” But Year 2? That was when Gronkowski took a blow torch to pro football. He was Jeremy Shockey 2.0. Off the field, Gronkowski partied like a rock star, posing for one shirtless Twitter photo with porn star Bibi Jones. On the field, he disemboweled defenses. There was no scurrying out of bounds and no surrender in catching 90 passes for 1,327 yards with an NFL-high 17 touchdowns. There were tight ends before him who were too athletic for linebackers and too strong for defensive backs, but Gronkowski was more mutation than hybrid. He clowned any chump who tried tackling him high.

The man known by all simply as “Gronk” pulled off stunts the position had never seen. He was now a shredded six foot six, 260 pounds and also happened to have the greatest player ever throwing him the ball.

This was the perfect storm Tony Gonzalez could only dream of.

No play boggled the mind more than his forty-nine-yarder against the Washington Redskins on December 11, 2011. First, he made a diving catch and barrel-rolled 360 degrees. When Gronk popped to his feet, he was greeted by defensive backs DeJon Gomes and Reed Doughty. Their combined 414 pounds dragged him toward the sideline with all momentum for an obvious stop. So obvious that veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall outright quit on the play and began walking in the opposite direction. Gronk shook free, raced up the right sideline, and only went down when cornerback Josh Wilson hurled himself into the tight end’s legs. Such self-sacrifice proved to be the only hope any tackler had. Gronk scored one play later and spiked the pigskin. More accurately, it appears he’s drilling for oil. People had been spiking for a half century, but never like this. He revolutionized the celebration. He’d go on to publicly spike everything from a bridal bouquet at a wedding to a puck at a Boston Bruins game to Steve Harvey’s Lego sculpture on New Year’s Eve.

He didn’t seem to be human, to both opponents and teammates. Inside the locker room after the Washington stunt, Wilson described Gronkowski as a “human gargoyle” to reporters. Other times, Edelman remembers sprinting next to Gronkowski midplay and thinking he was keeping pace with a Clydesdale horse.

“A Clydesdale,” he specifies, “that was giggling. He’d be laughing, ‘Hee-hee-hee!’ in the middle of running. You could hear the force because of how big he was and how strong he was. He sounded like a f---ing horse. Gronk was in a world of his own. In his prime, it was unfair. In those 2010, ’11, ’12, ’13, ’14 years, it was like watching an eighth grader play against third graders.”

In the 2011 divisional round of the playoffs, he supplied one of the greatest tight end games ever against the Denver Broncos with 10 receptions for 145 yards with 3 touchdowns. On one fade to the corner of the end zone, Gronkowski dove and tipped the ball with his right hand before cupping both hands underneath on his descent for the catch. This wasn’t some clumsy linebacker he toasted, either. It was veteran cornerback André Goodman. The only thing that slowed Gronk down that season was a grisly high-ankle sprain the following week in New England’s AFC Championship win over Baltimore. Despite wearing a walking boot one week before Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Gronkowski played. He nearly topped off this epic season with a scene straight out of Hollywood, too. On the final Hail Mary heave against the New York Giants, he lunged horizontally — like he had done so many times that season — and came within inches of cradling the deflection.

The Patriots lost. The confetti fell. What happened next seemed to captivate the nation as much as any play in the game.

During an invite-only Patriots postgame party at nearby (and ironically named) “Victory Field,” videos captured Gronk celebrating as if he won. He flailed all over the dance floor and, per family custom, tore his shirt off. The public wasn’t sure how to process this raw footage because the public had never seen this before. After such a crushing loss, Gronkowski should’ve been sulking in throbbing pain, right? Certainly not party-rocking with the band LMFAO and his brothers at 2:30 a.m. Yet this was zero shock to those who knew the man best. Gronk always lives in the moment, so Gronk was able to move on — quickly.

“What are you going to do? Mope about it?” Gordy Sr. says. “He went out and had a good freakin’ time.”

When Edelman saw the video, he laughed and chalked it up to “Rob being Rob.” The teammates who saw how insanely difficult it was for Gronkowski to gut through that game, he says, did not have a problem with it. The backlash from ex-Patriots was nonetheless deafening. Former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison said that if he or fellow ex-Patriots Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Larry Izzo, or Richard Seymour were at the party, Gronkowski “probably would have got his head rung.” At that very moment, Gronk himself faced quite a dilemma: Was it time to acquiesce to how all stars were supposed to conduct themselves in such a moment? To huddle up with PR handlers and map out an apology tour? To change who he is?

No. No. And, uh, hell no.

Gronkowski lived the rock star life he’d always dreamt of, kicking off the “Summer of Gronk.” He posed nude for ESPN’s The Body Issue. He joked that he’d like to take Tim Tebow’s virginity. He participated in a reality dating show on Fox. He won a celebrity home run derby contest back in Buffalo. With three years left on his rookie deal, he became the richest tight end ever with a $54 million, six-year deal. The greatest house party ever happened that off-season, too. Gronkowski estimates about fifteen teammates were present at what they dubbed “Ratio,” a likely reference to the number of men and women present. He refuses to provide any details from that night. He only giggles. The next off-season, with a broken forearm, TMZ revealed a shirtless Gronk body-slamming someone at a Las Vegas nightclub that the gossip site described as a friend. “They never said who the guy was that he dropped on his head,” Gordy Sr. points out. “It was his brother. They’re always doing stupid stuff.”

Partying defined Gronkowski those early years in New England as much as any catch, any touchdown, any spike. A period of time that fullback James Develin confirms was genuinely “nuts.” After the Patriots clobbered the Colts in the 2014 AFC Championship, players packed Gronkowski’s Foxborough home. His place resembled a nightclub, right down to the DJ and strobe lights and drinks. And, perhaps, scantily clad women? “I won’t say if there were or weren’t,” Develin says. He actually brought his wife to the party and, within no time, one random dude in a thong started dancing all over her like “Party Boy” from Jackass. Develin had no choice but to step in. He thinks it was one of Gronk’s pals from Buffalo.

“I mean-mugged him,” Develin says. “He’s like, ‘No, man! I’m just having a good time! Playing around!’ It wasn’t a big deal but that was the type of scene it was — people having fun, people letting loose.”

The Gronk Cruise, in February 2016, was the stuff of legend. Rapper Waka Flocka Flame, who calls Gronk the white version of himself, had never partied like this before. He described it as kids going to school without a principal, a teacher, laws of any sort. There were free drinks and loud music everywhere. “Like being in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory,” he said, “with strobe lights and bass.” Through the first four years of his career, Gronkowski admits he’d go hard on Friday and Sunday nights during the season. He speaks today in an ultra-nostalgic tone. He believes he caught the last wave of real partying in the NFL — house parties— and is thrilled he took full advantage, too.

“You’re partying. You’re drinking. You’re throwing some back. You’re running people over,” Gronkowski says. “That’s just how you picture it, man. Just living it up like we were in a movie. Living that party life in the NFL, and also going out and playing in the games and dominating. I would definitely say in my younger twenties we were rocking out big time.

“Lived it all to a T. Partying with musicians. Other athletes. I mean, I kind of got into the last phase of athletes partying. Before all this social media took over. That last phase of people in the NFL all living it up like you’re in the ’90s. I caught a couple veterans in New England who loved to do that stuff, too. My young twenties was like the last era of it. And I’m glad I got it in, man. I didn’t want to sit here like, ‘Man, I didn’t live how I wanted to live in the NFL.’ I did it. That’s how I thought the NFL should be. Rocking out like a rock star off the field and on the field. There’s no regrets. I lived it up.”

Pre-order your copy of "The Blood and Guts: How Tight Ends Save Football" at Amazon

If anything, all the partying helped him as a tight end. For starters, Gronkowski would usually force himself to work out the next morning. Like Shockey, he’d feel guilty. He’d pop in an INSANITY DVD and plow through the piercing hangover with his brothers. The party cruise was total debauchery — Gronkowski was dead to the world for a full three days afterward. But it wasn’t like he even needed to train those three days. At one point, Gronk, Waka, and WWE star Mojo Rawley all decided to wrestle. And whenever he partied those early years, he danced nonstop. Vodka-waters helped him stay hydrated while also avoiding the beer gut, and if the party was five hours? He danced for five hours. He turned a night of partying into a workout.

“Burning that many calories while partying, that kept my football game going. No lie. Hands down. No doubt about it.”

Not that his dance moves were derived from a Michael Jackson video.

He’d shake his whole body without any semblance of a plan.

“Everyone said it looked like I was having a seizure and I thought I was killing it. I’d say, ‘At least my whole body was shaking! It was warming up. It was loosening everything up!’”

And if anyone had a problem with Gronk’s lifestyle? Too damn bad. “They were just jealous,” Develin says. There was nothing the New England Patriots could say. They weren’t thrilled initially, but Gronkowski wasn’t causing any trouble. Like Shockey, he was never arrested. “He’s in Vegas,” Dad says, “dropping his brother on his head. They understand that.” Gordy was always cognizant of the fact that his own father was an alcoholic, too. Back when Rob and the gang were in high school, he made sure they understood what abusing alcohol could do. Waka was stunned by how controlled Gronk was in chaos. It also didn’t hurt that Gronkowski was simultaneously emerging as one of the best players in league history. Edelman admits that Belichick gave Gronkowski a different set of rules from everyone else. Teammates didn’t care, either. They saw how hard he worked.

A player doesn’t get to Tom Brady’s level by accident.

The same tight end telling ESPN Deportes “Yo Soy Fiesta!” earned the ironclad trust of his legendary quarterback. Not easy. Years prior, Brady simply shut out receivers he couldn’t trust like Joey Galloway and Chad Ochocinco. Anyone running an option route needs to see the same thing he does. From Year 1 to Year 3, every day, Gronkowski stayed after practice to drill down up to twenty different routes with Brady. The same obsession with detail that floored Gonzalez at his sale’s pitch of a workout with the GOAT was something Gronkowski experienced nonstop. “Now it’s instilled in us,” Gronkowski says. “He knows where I’ll be. I know when the ball will be there.”

This element of Gronkowski’s game unfortunately got lost through all the viral videos, but that’s OK.

To him, it was simple: To play hard, he needed to work harder.

“There’s a lot of people out there that come up with a great invention and say, ‘Why isn’t anybody praising me for all the work I did to create this great invention?’ No, you get the credit when the credit’s due. When you bring out the final project. In order to get what you want, you’ve got to work for it. I knew I had to put the work in day in and day out on the field with Tom. . . .  I only partied and had fun when I knew I took care of my business. Let me get everything done. Let me make sure I’m in shape and I worked out, I studied up so I can go out.”

His brothers always kept him humble, too. They could wallop him with a charley horse at any moment and, as Dad always reminded them, “We all piss and s--t in the same pot.” Still, even Dad’s jaw tended to drop at what Rob was accomplishing. When he wasn’t slashing through secondaries, Rob relished the opportunity to physically punish in the trenches. This was his chance to step into a time machine and travel back to his childhood home. Pro football essentially became Gronkowski’s personal game of Mini Sticks. Only instead of getting revenge on a brother for smashing him into a bathtub, he was kicking his enemies out of the club.

Nothing on the field defines the essence of Gronk’s rise quite like his feud with NFL safety Sergio Brown.

It all began when the two were rookies in 2010. Gronkowski was the second-rounder and Brown was the undrafted free agent fighting for his football life, so naturally, Brown tried to face the hulking tight end in every practice drill possible. “I’m not going to lie,” Brown says. “Rob used to f---ing kick kids’ asses. No one could guard him other than myself. No one.” To Brown, the only comparison in all of sports is Shaquille O’Neal. With this humongous catch radius, brute strength, and athleticism, the only way to defend Gronkowski at all was to undercut routes. Sort of how the only chance opposing NBA centers had at stopping Shaq was to front him in the paint.

Full tackling was obviously off limits. He hated the fact that he couldn’t even hit this tight end taking over the NFL, so Brown resorted to the next best thing: talking copious amounts of s--t. This was how he fueled his own game back to childhood. Once Brown could get another player riled up, he played better. Always. In New England, Brown’s go-to line was a high-pitched “Sunday Funday!” which annoyed Gronkowski to no end. After two years of Grade-A trolling, Brown was released, signed with the Indianapolis Colts and finally got the opportunity to hit Gronk on November 18, 2012.

The Patriots shellacked the Colts that day in Foxborough, 59-24, but the final score became irrelevant on that fifty-ninth point. With 3:55 remaining, Gronkowski couldn’t help himself. He lined up for the extra point, spotted Brown across the line of scrimmage and mocked his ex-teammate with an exaggerated, baritone “Suhhn-dehh Fuhhhn-dehhh! Suhhn-dehh Fuhhhn- dehhh!” that Brown imitates here in his finest caveman voice. Hearing this filled him with an adrenaline rush Brown had never experienced in his life. “I’m about to f--k you up!” he screamed back. Brown exploded out of his three-point stance, rushed inside of Gronkowski and came within inches of blocking the kick. Gronkowski wasn’t able to get his hands up in time, so he threw a last-ditch, old-school, chicken-wing-like block with his left arm at Brown that broke his forearm and ended his season.

“When I sat back and thought about it,” Brown says, “I was like, ‘Wow. He literally chose a broken arm over letting me block a kick.’ I have no choice but to respect the s--t out of that as a football player.”

Those Gronk-less Patriots lost in the AFC Championship. One week later, at a Super Bowl party in Las Vegas, Brown spotted Gronkowski across the room and went over to say hello with an outstretched hand. He wanted to make amends.

“He just looks like he saw a ghost. I’m like, ‘Oh, OK. Well, I’ll try again next year.’”

Brown laughed, returned to his side of the room and the two would eventually meet again. A torn ACL ended Gronkowski’s 2013 season, but into 2014, he was to back to pure domination. Back to making plays like his one-handed catch against Denver. Visually, he was imposing. A massive black brace around his arm made Gronkowski look like a transformer. On November 16, 2014, the Patriots and Colts squared off on Sunday Night Football. All game, the Colts swapped Brown and LaRon Landry in and out for each other at safety. Belichick knew to run when Brown was in and pass when Landry was in. Which drove Brown mad. Whenever he was within earshot of Gronkowski, of course, he reminded Gronkowski how he got that massive brace on his left arm and told him that Tom Brady wasn’t even looking his way.

Gronkowski’s blood boiled. That temper returned. Unlike the high school days, no coach would be pulling him from this game.

From the 1-yard line — with the Patriots leading, 28-20 — Gronkowski lined up as the left flanker across from Brown. And as running back Jonas Gray pranced in for a touchdown off his butt, Gronkowski grabbed ahold of Brown and piledrove him directly into NBC’s roving television truck. On the sideline, the cameras caught Gronk flapping his fingers to indicate Brown couldn’t keep his mouth shut, and nobody — especially the head coach — cared about the flag. Edelman remembers Belichick loving the play because this is what gave his entire team an edge.

“When you see a guy get driven back fifteen, sixteen yards,” Edelman says, “and then tossed into the back of the end zone? That makes your whole team say, ‘Well, if he’s going to go that hard, we want to go that hard.’”

Afterward, Gronkowski famously said that Brown was yapping all game, so he “threw him out of the club.” What Brown didn’t do remains the greatest regret of his playing career. After the back of his head bounced off that truck, instantly, Brown thought about the future. All game, his coach was telling him to keep his cool. Since he was in a contract year, he feared retaliating could be costly. Looking back? Brown wishes he declared war on Gronk then and there. For a moment, he imagines an alternate universe. Brown would have grabbed Gronkowski by the facemask, ripped his helmet off, and gotten in as many haymakers as possible.

His voice raises. His adrenaline pumps. Seven years later, the scar’s still fresh.

“I should’ve chosen to be the villain that day,” he says, “and just went West Side Chicago on that motherf---er.”

Alas, the beef ended with Brown getting embarrassed on national television. He wasn’t even on the field for Gronkowski’s epic twenty-six-yard touchdown the next drive — a spinning, stiff- arming, leaping work of art. He played all of two defensive snaps when these two teams met again in the AFC Championship. A 45-7 Patriots romp. The ensuing house party at Gronk’s proved to be nothing but an appetizer, with the tight end exacting some Super Bowl revenge in a 28-24 thriller over the Seattle Seahawks.

This time, he partied so hard in Hollywood that he tore his pants.

Such is the theme of his football life: Gronk gets the last word, Gronk trudges right along. As passionate as players like Washington State’s Alfonso Jackson and Brown are reliving plays that truly did change their lives, to Gronk, it’s like asking what he had for dinner that evening. He has rampaged through so many humans his entire life that the wreckage blurs together. The damage isn’t only physical — it’s emotional. In 2017, Gronkowski humiliated Pittsburgh Steelers safety Sean Davis on a game-winning drive and, after topping it off with a two-point catch over Davis, he literally laughed in his face. Develin can still see Gronk’s beaming expression when he returned to the sideline. “You could put a string of light bulbs on him,” he says, “and they’d go off.” Davis told reporters afterward that he had no clue how anyone could cover a tight end like this.

Granted, it’s not always hee-haws and fiestas. Belichick tried to adopt the same strategy as high school coach Mike Mammoliti, pulling Angry Gronk off the field before it was too late. Unfortunately, he didn’t always get to him in time. Gronkowski became a villain in his own hometown for his cheap shot of cornerback Tre’Davious White. He believed White held him at the top of his route and retaliated. A good two Mississippis after the play, Gronkowski concussed White with a WWE- style body slam. Mammoliti was up in a suite with the Gronk family for that game and, when he caught up with Rob in the tunnel afterward, he got the sense that Rob “lost his consciousness” for a moment. Gronk apologized. Gronk was suspended. Gronk admitted years later he actually enjoyed his one-game suspension and didn’t care at all that he lost a $300,000 game check.

And he gronked right along because, always, Rob Gronkowski forced the NFL to adjust to him. Not the other way around.

Right when the overall tenor of the sport was softening, Gronkowski reminded everyone what they truly love about football. Much of the league’s proactive measures were needed, of course. Concussion awareness exploded with the release of the bombshell book and documentary League of Denial. But the all-encompassing overcorrection on violence proved extreme. The league’s search for a magical middle ground that does not exist started to eliminate the badasses that defined the sport for so long. The headhunting safety. The quarterback crusher. The kamikaze special-teamer. Viewers became conditioned to expect flags after whistles and, no, it’s not hyperbole to suggest the NFL becomes flag football one day.

Yet there’s also zero denying that what makes football king among all major pro sports leagues is its inherent violence. The tight end position best preserves that violence, and no era was more crucial to this preservation than the 2010s. Gronkowski’s unapologetic, live-like-there-is-no-tomorrow play style became a guilty pleasure for all.

He is confident football will remain football.

“Who doesn’t love big hits?” Gronkowski asks. “You can’t get it in any other sport: Every single play, monster guys that are so fast and so strong just running into each other. I would say I definitely contributed to keeping that legacy of what football really is going. Big hits. Getting smacked. Getting back up. Breaking tackles. That’s what brings joy to football fans.”

The same kid who’d laugh as his brothers whacked him over the back enjoyed getting hit by NFL safeties — no matter the cost — but those hits did add up. As the years passed, it started to get a lot harder to lift himself up off the canvas. In a Super Bowl rematch with the Seahawks, in 2016, Gronkowski ran up the seam and absorbed a hard right shoulder from safety Earl Thomas that felt more like a harpoon through the sternum. This time, he didn’t spin and stagger into the end zone like he did after Jackson’s shot in college. Seattle’s Kam Chancellor, in coverage, swatted the ball away incomplete. Gronkowski gingerly ambled to his feet.

He played on, albeit while bleeding from his mouth the rest of the game. While he had no clue at the time, he had punctured his lung. His next game, against the Jets, Gronkowski herniated a disc in his back and was placed on IR. An injury he knows was collateral damage from the Thomas hit. 

As much as Gronkowski cherishes a one-handed catch or a pancake of a block, this is what he’s most proud of when he reflects on his career.

This was the biggest hit he took in his life, and he kept going.

“It was like when I was a kid. I’d get smacked so much. All the charley horses would hurt so much. But guess what? I had no choice but to keep going.”

To read this entire chapter, you can pre-order your copy at Amazon or wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from The Blood and Guts: How Tight Ends Save Football 

©2022 Tyler Dunne and reprinted by permission from Twelve Books/Hachette Book Group.

Check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast with The Blood and Guts: How Tight Ends Save Football author Tyler Dunne on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch it on YouTube below:

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