Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 4/12/12

Between his rookie and sophomore seasons, Rob Gronkowski transformed from one of the best red zone tight ends in the game to one of the best tight ends period. As a pass-catcher in 2011, no one was better than Gronk. He hauled in 90 balls for more than 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns. Aside from developing as a player, one of the contributing factors to Gronkowski’s success may been that he was less in awe of Tom Brady in 2011 than when he first came into the league.

“Yes, definitely,” Gronkowski told 590 The Fan in Toronto when asked if playing with Brady was intimidating at first. “It’s pretty wild first going in. You just sit in the huddle and you’re kind of star-struck a little bit. … The next couple years now, I’ve settled in and everything and it’s just great going in and feeling comfortable now.”

I’m surprised we don’t hear similar admissions from players more often. If you’re an impact player in the NFL, you obviously have the confidence to know you can hang with the best players in the game. However, guys like Gronk were watching Brady win Super Bowls when they were 10, 11, and 12 years old. Somewhere in the country, there is a 10-year-old kid in his backyard pretending to catch a game-winning touchdown from Tim Tebow. Ten years from now, Tebow could be a starting NFL quarterback and that kid could be on his team. When it actually happens, it must be surreal. That has to make life in the NFL a little more difficult for young players to adjust to.

Photo credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

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