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Let Gronkowski be

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  February 5, 2013 12:40 PM

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Rob Gronkowski, shirt on, at an event in New Orleans
Feb. 1. (Michael Loccisano / Getty Images)

Once again, the personal and not-so private world of Rob Gronkowski is on full shirtless display. It's in these times I'm thankful Gronk is a Patriot.

TMZ procured video of Gronkowski dancing shirtless -- sound like déjà vu yet? -- at a nightclub in Las Vegas. Gronkowski was partying hours after Super Bowl XLVII -- still no déjà vu? -- after the Baltimore Ravens eked out a win against the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans.

If you recall, last year when the Patriots lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, Gronkowski was on the dance floor later that night. He ended up shirtless, but that was besides the point. He had outraged the Patriots fan base for not taking the loss as hard as the fans had.

The question every Patriots fan wanted answered then: Why am I taking this to heart if he's not?

Gronkowski can't answer that and in all likelihood won't even try. He's not built in the mold of a fan, which will never equate to the emotional investment and total helplessness Patriots nation feels. At the time, he had his opportunities to help the Patriots beat the Giants, decoy or no decoy, and still suffered a bitter defeat. As I wrote last year, he was sullen postgame like the rest of his teammates and was likely blowing off steam.

Without diving too far into the mind of a 23-year old -- which in this case is impossible -- I'm sure he was thinking at the time he needed to get over the loss. If that meant a few adult beverages and some bad techno dancing, so be it. This year, he may very well be trying to get over a season that finished two steps short of the team's ultimate goal.

But there is a key difference here. This time around, the concern is not where Gronkowski's heart is, but where his head lies -- or more specifically his brain. In the video of Gronkowski, he's on stage again, shirtless again, enjoying himself, and (gasp!) wrestling.

Just weeks away from a surgery on his left forearm, the second break on the arm he's suffered in a span of three months, he was trying to perform what looks like a Stone Cold Stunner with a cast on his arm.

This is the part where fans ask: Is Gronkowski trying to stay healthy?

You can't help but laugh though, thinking back specifically to something Papa Gronk said about his son's pain threshold.

"Robby loved pain," Gordie Gronkowski told ThePostGame.com. "[His brothers] used to beat on the kid and he would come back for more."

The kicker here is that Gronkowski playfully gets up after performing his "move" and goes back to his terrible dancing. No harm, no foul.

We're used to the business first and last culture of the Patriots, so Gronkowski's exploits (parties, porn star friends, etc.) are what I'll term a breath of fresh air in these parts.

Outside of Zoltan Mesko, Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, and slim number of others, Gronkowski provides personality for a team that lacks humor and looks at personalities like they're something that needs to be sterilized.

So appreciate him. In six months, you won't get a chance to see this side of him again.


News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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