Chris Gronkowski is gearing up to play a traditional fullback role in the Broncos offense. While his primary job will be blocking, he’s ready for a chance to showcase some of his other skills.
Gronkowski took his first handoff of training camp during Thursday afternoon’s practice, running for positive yards and giving defenders a challenge in stopping his momentum.
“I got a handoff today, so that was cool,” he smiled. “Hopefully I get a couple more of those. And hopefully I can continue to use my versatility and catch some passes and run the ball, and also block. Hopefully I can show them that I can do those things as well.”
His eagerness to catch passes out of the backfield was evident when asked if he had hands like his brother, tight end Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots.
“Have you been watching practice?” he laughed. “I’ve got good hands. Rob’s one of the best, so I don’t know if I could say I have the same as him. But they’re up there.”
As he continues to get acclimated with the offense, Gronkowski said Running Backs Coach Eric Studesville has been the most helpful with the process.
“Pretty much Coach Studesville really took me under the wing right when I got here and brought me in,” Gronkowski said. “He showed me the plays, showed me how he wanted them run, and all the schemes. So it’s pretty much similar to what I’ve been running in the past and it has fit in well with me.”
But for some additional counseling, there’s always No. 18.
“(Quarterback) Peyton (Manning), if you ever need to know anything, just ask him,” Gronkowski said. “He knows everything — he knows every position. He knows what everyone’s doing.”
When asked to describe Manning as a player, he gave a response similar to what his other teammates have said: He’s a “true leader” and “works harder than anyone.”
But he prefaced that answer with one more reminder that he’s available as a receiver out of the backfield.
“I hope I get to catch some balls (from him),” he said.
Saturday’s team scrimmage will be Gronkowski’s first action in Sports Authority Field at Mile High. It’s a possibility that you’ll see him catch a pass. But it’s a guarantee that you’ll see him hitting somebody.
“If you go in there soft, you’re just going to get beat up,” he said. “30,000 fans, I hope we put a good show on.”