Originally written on Denver Post  |  Last updated 11/18/14

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 02: Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots carries a reception into the endzone past Antrel Rolle of the New York Giants for a first quarter touchdown on September 2, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

There can’t be many more difficult matchups in the AFC than a linebacker trying to hang with Patriots tight end extraordinaire Rob Gronkowski.

But at times that will be the challenge facing Broncos linebacker Joe Mays on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Gronkowski is just a second-year player from the University of Arizona but already ranks among the best. His 71 receptions ranks third among NFL tight ends, behind New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham (80) and Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez (73).

“You just try to get your hands on him as soon as you can,” Mays said of Gronkowski. “(You try to) jam him on the line, slow him down, slow his momentum down, just make Tom Brady look somewhere else. That’s what we’re going to try to do this week, and hopefully it works for us. We’re definitely going to try to work hard to get that done.”

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