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Gronkowski still giving fans what they want

By Seth Lakso
Globe Correspondent / March 28, 2012
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FOXBOROUGH - Rob Gronkowski remembers taking Dunkin’ Donuts orders from his Patriots teammates when he was a rookie two years ago. On Tuesday, he found himself on coffee detail again, serving average Joes their daily cups of joe.

On Monday, Dunkin’ Donuts announced that the Pro Bowl tight end had signed a two-year sponsorship contract with the Canton-based company. As part of the deal, Gronkowski was on hand - in a walking boot - at the Main Street location in Foxborough to serve unsuspecting customers their morning coffees.

“It was a blast out there,’’ said Gronkowski, who admitted to having a soft spot for chocolate glazed doughnuts. “I got to see all the employees.

“I’m always going through this drive-through, like twice a week, every time I’m around town, and now I get to meet them all after them serving me all the time.

“It was fun working the drive-through. I met one customer who said she had a puppy named after me - named Gronk - so that was pretty cool.

“I put a couple signatures on cups. I think people were happy going through and it was just a blast being back here.’’

Gronkowski said there haven’t been any setbacks since he underwent arthroscopic surgery Feb. 10 to repair a high ankle sprain and ligament damage he suffered in the Patriots’ 23-20 win over the Ravens in the AFC title game.

“It’s great,’’ said Gronkowski. “I’m like 6 1/2 weeks out of surgery and I’m just getting better every day, taking it week by week, day by day.

“I’m walking around now and everything’s on pace and hopefully I’m 100 percent when it comes down to the time that that’s where I’m supposed to be.’’

The timetable for Gronkowski’s return, which was set at approximately 10 weeks, should put him back in the middle of April, when the Patriots have a minicamp.

“Not sure when the boot is coming off,’’ said Gronkowski. “It’s still a couple weeks away and I’m just getting better every single day. Right now all I can do is upper body - sit-ups, pull-ups, and pushups. All that good stuff. I’m just going to have to make up for that in cardio and leg workouts when I get healthy.’’

Gronkowski talked about the new additions the Patriots have made, including wide receiver Donté Stallworth and fullback/linebacker Spencer Larsen.

“I’m excited to have new teammates coming in,’’ he said. “I’ve met some of the guys in the past. They’re great guys and I’m just excited for them to come on board. We’ve got some hard workers coming in.’’

Gronkowski said he has practiced with Stallworth during past offseasons in Florida and he remembers Larsen from his time at Arizona, where Larsen was a senior during Gronkowski’s freshman season.

“I was glad to meet up with [Larsen] again and start working with him,’’ said the tight end. “He has a lot of dedication to the game and loves playing it.’’

With the walking boot, Gronkowski had no chance to escape the inevitable Tim Tebow questions.

“It’s tough competition playing [the Jets] every single year,’’ he said. “I’m just thinking that our conference might be the most talked-about conference now because of [Tebow].’’

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