NFL

NFL AM: Rob Gronkowski And Broncos Sparring Through Media And Social Media

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Rob Gronkowski wins the day on Twitter:

Whether you’re a football fan or a football reporter, Twitter is great. However, if you’re a football player, more times than not the social media platform can just get you into trouble.

This week, while getting ready for the AFC Championship Game, Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris joined ESPN’s SportsCenter and was asked how best to defend Rob Gronkowski, and gave an answer that Gronk didn’t like very much.

“You gotta hit him low, man. Hit him in his knees,” Harris said. “That’s the best chance you got of hitting him.”

The Patriots tight end decided to go full Gronk with his response and headed to Twitter with a hilarious jab at his upcoming opponents.

It actually originated with a young Patriots fans tweeting, “Heard the DenverBroncos are gunna hit @RobGronkowski in the knees to bring him down, @Patriots, be careful. Don’t wanna see him hurt again!”

Gronkowski saw the young ladies tweet and responded the only way he knows how, with Gronk magic.

“Heard their whole team is good at giving low blows,” Gronkowski replied on Twitter.

It’s great that during a week where Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall said “He pushes off,” when asked about Gronkowski’s success, and Harris was talking about taking the Patriots tight end out at the knees that Gronk won by acting like a juvenile delinquent.

Let’s remember, these guys are playing a game for a living. It seems no matter what the situation on or off the field, Gronkowski is too busy having a blast and acting like a big kid who gets to play the game he loves every day to get angry about anything. He beats you on the field by being bigger, stronger, and more talented than you, and he beats you off the field by being a big freaking kid. Throw away whatever you think about Bill Belichick, Tom Brady or the Patriots, if Gronkowski isn’t your favorite NFL player, you’re taking things too seriously. Learn to love the Gronk.

Marshawn Lynch could be done in Seattle:

The Seattle Seahawks were eliminated from the playoffs Sunday after losing 31-24 to the Carolina Panthers, who Seattle let get out to a 31-0 lead before trying to pull off an amazing comeback. Despite the fact that they were once again playing their best football heading into the playoffs, this year the Seahawks always seemed just a tick off.

Now the team will have to get creative this offseason to try to keep as much of the roster together as possible. The salary cap is expected to go up again in 2016, but Pete Carroll and John Schneider still have some interesting decisions to make with a couple of big names like Marshawn Lynch and Kam Chancellor.

While appeasing Chancellor, whose contract hold out lasted all of training camp and into the regular season is likely a top priority this offseason, the likelihood that Lynch will be back isn’t nearly as strong. The nine-year veteran running back will be 30 years old when the 2016 season begins and would carry with him a cap hit of $11.5 million.

Carroll spoke to the media Monday, and refused to get into specifics about any individual player when asked about Lynch’s future with the team.

“I don’t know how that’s going to go,’’ Carroll said. “I don’t know how any of these guys are going to go right now. I don’t know.”

Carroll can say he may not know what’s going on, but the writing is all over the wall for Lynch. First, the success of the Seattle rushing attack and Thomas Rawls when the Seahawks veteran back was on the shelf this season showed the offense can indeed work without Lynch.

Releasing Lynch would leave Seattle with $5 million of dead money, but would also save the Seahawks $6.5 million on the 2016 cap.

Whether it’s his age or the salary cap, all the numbers point to this being the end of Lynch era in Seattle. If the likely happens, it will be interesting to see if the back will decide to enter his 10th NFL season with a new team, or possibly retire. He’s already hinted at retirement in the past, and may not want to try to fit into a new locker room. If he does decide to keep playing, don’t be surprised if Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots poach the veteran back.

Eagles hire Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator:

Jim Schwartz didn’t exactly work out as head coach for the Detroit Lions, but his success as a defensive coordinator has once again landed him in that position, this time for the Philadelphia Eagles.

The former Bills defensive coordinator spent 2015 working as a consultant for the league’s officiating department, but is back where he belongs for the 2016 season. He might not have been ready for his first gig as the head guy, but the energy that some scoffed at when he was a head coach is just one sign that this is a guy who belongs on the sidelines and not consulting.

Schwartz was hired as the Lions head coach after an impressive eight-year run as Tennessee Titans’ defensive coordinator. After being fired by Detroit, the sometimes polarizing coach was hired as defensive coordinator by the Buffalo Bills, who went on to lead the NFL in sacks his one season with the team. Buffalo’s hiring of Rex Ryan meant it was time to move on again as the former Jets coach had his own system and staff he wanted to employ.

Bringing in Schwartz is a great move for new Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. Philadelphia’s defense has been less than impressive for some time, but his role as defensive coordinator will only be one part of Schwartz’s value to the newly hired head coach. Having a former head coach on staff is a great resource for a first-timer like Pederson and Tampa Bay’s Dirk Koetter, who hired former Atlanta Falcons head coach to run the Buccaneers defense.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.