New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski’s Patriots teammates did not hesitate to come to his defense in the wake of the Bills’ Tre’Davious White referring to the tight end as a “dirty player.”

Safety Duron Harmon, a teammate of Gronkowski since 2013, couldn’t deny that his teammate made a bad mistake – but he certainly can’t agree with White’s opinion of Gronk as a player.

“It’s tough to comment on that because all in itself it’s just bad. But I’ve known Gronk for five years now. Gronk is not only a tremendous football player but a tremendous teammate,” said Harmon. “[He] would do anything for you. Always has a smile on his face. Always doing the right thing. At that moment it didn’t happen but I wouldn’t call Gronk a dirty player. Just a bad situation.”

No. 2 tight end Dwayne Allen, who could have a big role in Gronkowski’s absence on Monday night against the Dolphins, has seen enough through 13 weeks with his new teammate to be able to defend his character against White’s comments.

“I’ve only had one year with Rob, but everything that Rob has shown me this year has shown me a guy who loves the game of football, who goes about playing it the right way and would not want to harm anyone,” said Allen.

Fellow Patriots newcomer Marquis Flowers also disagreed with White’s “dirty player” label.

“You don’t call anyone a dirty player based off one play,” said Flowers. “Gronk is my teammate. At the end of the day he’s a good guy.”

The Patriots were asked to respond to White’s strong words for Gronkowski on Thursday when he spoke to reporters.

“The guy did what he wanted to do. He is what he did. Dirty shot, so what does that make him? Dirty player. Simple,” said White, who also described Gronkowski’s one-game suspension as a “joke.”

Bills players have publicly been highly critical of Gronkowski’s late hit on the rookie cornerback and appear ready to exact revenge on him when the teams meet again on Christmas Eve.