Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski walked with a confident stride and gait, showing no signs of a limp. But he still showed some nervous tension today as he sat in his booth for Super Bowl Media Day at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The enormity of the situation seemed to catch up with him as he was peppered with queries about his ankle, which was injured in the third quarter of the AFC championship.
On Monday, according to Gronkowski, the boot that covered his left ankle was removed.
“I’m just going day by day, every single day just working with the training staff,” said Gronkowski to the first and most important question of the day. “Whatever the training staff asks me to do, that’s what I’m doing.”
How much pain is he in? “Like I said, day by day. Whatever the training staff asks me to do, that’s all I’m doing,” he said.
Is he expecting to play on Sunday?
“I don’t know yet. I’m going day by day. Just taking every single day and making new steps every day. Feeling better every day. And that’s a positive sign and I just want to keep going in the right direction. I want to be out there with the team obviously. Just taking it step by step and getting better.
Gronkowski was also asked if he would be effective if he played in the Super Bowl without practicing.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “That’s why I’m with the training staff. Whatever they ask me to do, I have trust in the organization.”
The burly tight end said his ankle injury would not be a big deal if it were not for the Super Bowl. However, he did say it was getting better.
“I’m improving every day.”
Giants defensive linemen Justin Tuck said he is hoping Gronkowski’s recovery timeline will slow down.
“Hopefully that ankle hurts a little bit,” he said.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had high praise for Gronkowski.
“He’s really what makes our offense go, so I hope we have him out there,” Brady said.
Chad Ochocinco did not have a podium at Media Day and instead was surrounded by throngs of reporters along the field.
The receiver has been a mainstay at Media Day in recent years as a reporter for his OCNN news network. And while he reiterated he’s had a humbling experience in New England due to his lack of production, he’s happy to be part of a Super Bowl team for the first time in his career.
“I’m seeing it in a whole different light,” he said. “Podium? What do I need a podium for? I got 3 million followers on Twitter. That’s my podium.”
Ochocinco was inactive for the AFC Championship game and did not predict what role he would play in the Super Bowl.
Coughlin on Patriots’ defense
The Patriots may have had the 31st-ranked defense in the NFL this season, but Giants coach Tom Coughlin didn’t see a need to pile on.
NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders asked Coughlin about how he would attack what Sanders called the Patriots “horrendous” defense. Coughlin deflected the question with praise for the Patriots.
“I think they’re playing a little better than they have in the past,” Coughlin said with a laugh.
The Giants’ receiving trio of Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham present an imposing threat to the Patriots, and Coughlin said he expects Patriots coach Bill Belichick to get creative in defending them.
“Bill will double(-team) some, he’ll double maybe two,” Coughlin said. “We have to be able to recognize the single (coverage).”
Patriots offensive lineman Nate Solder often lines up as a tight end or as a tackle who’s eligible to catch a pass. He was asked if the Patriots were sitting on a gadget play for him, but he was decidedly vague. Former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel caught touchdown passes for the team in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX. ... Patriots reserve defensive back Russ Ventrone was asked maybe the funniest question: Can he name all the states in New England? Luckily he got them right. ... Patriots left tackle Matt Light missed Media Day and was said to be ill. He and Giants defensive lineman Osi Umenyiora have had a heated rivalry, and Umenyiora was asked about Light’s status. “Please get well soon. You are one of my greatest friends,” Umenyiora said with a wry smile.
Contributing: Zuri Berry