Seahawks safety Earl Thomas has always had a reputation for being a big hitter. And someday, if he ever writes a book about his time as one of the NFL’s best safeties and hardest hitters, he already has a blurb for the book jacket thanks to Rob Gronkowski.
“Yeah, that was a big hit for sure; probably one of the hardest I’ve got hit in my career for sure,” Gronkowski said. “[It was] by a good player; a good fast player who’s like a missile. It was a good, clean hit; nothing against it. I just took it and it just knocked the wind out of me a little bit, that’s all. If you’ve ever gotten the wind knocked out of you, you know what that feels like. Just down for about a minute or two, it’s a little tough to breath, but once it comes back, you’re good.”
He added: "It's football you're going to get laid out eventually."
Little did Gronk know, he had actually suffered a chest injury that was initially thought to be a punctured lung. That means Gronk finished the entire game with the injury.
The hit happened on a first-and-10 at 4:17 in the second quarter of Seattle’s eventual win. The result of it was an incomplete pass, which when you see the hit, yeah, it’s kind of obvious why it’s an incomplete pass.
Take a look for yourself.
Earl Thomas with the BOOM on Gronk. pic.twitter.com/ySkzHW9aeM— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) November 14, 2016
Gronk came out of the game briefly after that hit and was checked for a concussion. He said it felt like getting the wind knocked out of him, and he came back in the game pretty quickly after that.
Turns out, it was a lot more than just that.