New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski may lead the NFL in offensive pass interference penalties this season, but he’s not ready to change his game because of it.
“I’m not doing anything wrong,” Gronkowski told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. When asked what he can do differently to prevent OPI calls. “I’m playing football. … I’m not changing my style.”
Gronkowski was only penalized twice in 2014, and through nine games he’s already matched last year’s leaders, Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett and Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts per ESPN’s Stats & Information. He picked up his latest OPI call this Sunday against the New York Giants, where he had a 20-yard reception negated following a penalty.
Despite the calls, the man they call Gronk says he’s going to continue doing what he’s doing.
“I’m not sure what it is. I’m just going to keep playing how I’ve been playing; how I go out and practice and try and transition it to the games. … It’s been going on all year.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick says he’s happy with how officials have cleaned up the rule, but admits there’s a gray area with the call.
“I’d say Rob has done a really good job of trying to play within the rules and use techniques that are not illegal, that don’t bring those calls,” Belichick said. “We’ve had a couple of them, but I don’t think they’re the type of calls where you look at it and say, ‘Well, they have to call this, you can’t do that.’ It’s somewhere in that gray area, but it’s over the line, so we’ve got to do a better job of coaching it.”
The penalties haven’t stopped Gronkowski or the New England offense, as he leads tight ends with 806 receiving yards, and has scored eight touchdowns, helping the Patriots to a 9-0 record.