FOXBOROUGH – Rob Gronkowski remembers taking Dunkin’ Donuts orders from his Patriots teammates when he was a rookie two years ago. On Tuesday, he was on coffee detail once again, serving average Joes their daily cups of Joe.
On Monday, Dunkin’ Donuts announced that the Pro Bowl tight end signed a two-year sponsorship contract. As part of the deal, Gronkowski was on hand – walking-boot and all – at the Dunkin’ Donuts Tuesday on Main Street in Foxborough at 11 a.m. to serve unsuspecting customers their morning coffees.
“It was a blast out there,” said Gronkowski, who admitted to having a soft spot for the chocolate glazed donuts. “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,” he continued. “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 that there haven’t been any setbacks since he underwent arthroscopic surgery on 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.
“[The ankle’s] great,” said Gronkowski. “I’m like six and a half 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 [mid-April].
The timetable for Gronkowski’s return, which was set at approximately 10 weeks, should put him back to 100 percent sometime in the middle of April, when the Patriots’ minicamp is scheduled.
“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 to the Patriots in the recent weeks, including Donte Stallworth and 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’s a hard worker and 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. I’m just thinking that our conference might be the most talked about conference now because of [Tebow],” he said.