September 23, 2011 - 4:11 PM
Amherst native and former Williamsville North star Rob Gronkowski was looking forward to coming home with brother Dan and the Patriots, but he was thinking about Sunday's game against the Bills more than visiting with family and friends.
"It’s cool and it’s a lot of fun, but it’s the last thing I’m focusing on," Gronkowski said of the reunion. "We have a game to play. We’re playing the Buffalo Bills. They’re 2-0 and have a great defense. They have great players on their team. That’s all I’m focusing on right now, coming out and working in practice and studying the Bills."
Rob and Dan Gronkowski both play tight end of the Pats, making them the first brothers to play the position at the same time for the same team.
Rob is an emerging star who already had 10 catches for 172 yards and three touchdowns. He's become one of Tom Brady's favorite targets, particularly in the red zone. Dan was signed after getting released by the Broncos just before the season.
Dan played well in the first two games while being used mostly in blocking situations. He could get more playing time with Aaron Hernandez likely missing the game with a knee injury. Dan and Rob already have been on the field at the same time, usually on opposite sides when the Pats use two tight ends.
"We have a good time, definitely, on an off the field, and it’s pretty fun," Rob said. "It will definitely be a special moment, for sure. You have to cherish the moment, but at the same time you have to focus on the Bills and play a great game. After that, you get to see your family and friends."
The Gronkowskis are the 30th pair of brothers who played on the same NFL team at the same time. Here's a full list:
Bailey: Boss (LB), Champ (CB). Broncos 2008
Baldinger: Brian, (OL) Gary (DL). Colts 1990-91
Baldinger: Gary (DL), Rich (OL). Chiefs 1986-88
Blackwood: Glenn (DB), Lyle (DB). Dolphins 1982-86
Blades: Bennie (DB), Brian (WR). Seahawks 1977
Carter/Reed: Dale Carter (CB), Jake Reed (WR) Vikings 2001
Clemons: Chris (LB/DE), Nic (DE). Redskins 2005
Dyson: Kevin (WR), Andre (CB). Titans 2001-02
Eisenhooth: John (NT), Stan (OL). Seahawks 1987
Fahnhorst: Jim (LB), Keith (T). 49ers 1984-87
Farr: Mel, Sr. (HB), Miller (DB). Lions 1973
Fourcade: John (QB), Keith (LB) Saints 1987
Griffin: Archie (HB), Ray (DB) Bengals 1982-84
Gronkowski: Dan (TE), Rob (TE). Patriots 2011
Hambrick Darren (LB), Troy (RB). Cowboys 2000-01
Henderson: E.J. (LB) Erin (LB) Vikings 2008-11
Krueger: Charlie (DL), Rolf (DL). 49ers 1972-73
McSwain: Chuck (HB), Rod (DB) Patriots 1987
Moss: Eric (OL), Randy (WR). Vikings 1998-99
Noga: Niko (LB), Pete (LB). Cardinals 1987
Olsen: Merlin (DT), Phil (DL,OL). Rams 1971-74
Palmer: Carson (QB), Jordan (QB). Bengals 2007-10
Selmon: Dewey (LB), Lee Roy (DE). Bucs 1976-80
Smith: Bubba (DL), Tody (DE). Oilers 1975-76
Thomas: Jewerl (RB), Ken (RB). Chiefs 1983
Turk: Dan (C) Matt, (P) Redskins 1997-99
Walker: Darnell (CB), Marquis (CB). Lions 2009
Weathers: Clarence (WR), Robert (RB). Patriots 1983-84
Widell: Dave (OL), Doug (G). Broncos 1993
Woods: Larry (DT), Robert (OL). Jets 1997
Source: Pro Football Hall of Fame
--- Bucky Gleason