New England Patriots

By Ty Anderson,

After missing the last two games (and three of the last four overall) with ankle and back injuries, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has declared himself ready to go for this Sunday’s meeting with the New York Jets.

“Definitely ready to get back there,” Gronkowski told reporters Friday. “I’m good to go and excited to be back out there with the team, excited to get back out there on Sundays and play some ball.”

It’s been an odd year for Gronkowski, to say the least. He’s had multiple rather bizarre press conferences, has frequently traveled with the team only to not play, and has recorded just one touchdown in seven appearances this year. The latter two parts of this weird year have almost guaranteed that Gronkowski will not hit the performance incentives on his reworked contract with the Patriots, but the 29-year-old pass-catching behemoth remained consistent in his delivery on Friday.

“I’m ready to play, that’s all,” Gronkowski said when asked if this is the best he’s felt since his season-best performance in Week 1. “I’m excited to be back out there come Sunday and just been working hard to get back out there and ready to roll.”

The press conference was not complete without Gronkowski dancing around the New York Daily News column that said he was a shell of his former self, comparing him to the titular character of “Weekend at Bernie’s.”

“Heard there was some like crazy weekend though at my house. It gets crazy,” Gronkowski said of the cover story. “It is what it is. We’ve got a big game Sunday, that’s all that matters. I’ve got to get ready, got to get prepared and just focus on Sunday.”

Gronkowski may be underperforming to his career standards. He may be playing through something that’s going to limit him like it has in his on-field appearances this season. He may even be a dead guy wearing sunglasses on Sunday. But one thing remained the same throughout his presser: His belief in his own personal preparation — physically and mentally, it would seem — for a “hostile environment” at Metlife Stadium this weekend.

“I just feel overall ready,” Gronkowski offered.

“I’m excited to be back with the team, excited to go back out there with the guys and go to battle.”

Gronkowski has 60 catches for 738 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 13 career games against the Jets.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for  Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.