Rob Gronkowski’s draft diary: ‘You have to be mentally ready for anything’ at the Combine

This Wednesday, I’m heading to the Combine. I’ve never been to Indianapolis, but I’m treating it like a business trip.

Focus and preparation: Keywords this week for Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Focus and preparation: Keywords this week for Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski.

I talked to my brother and other players who have gone through the process to get an idea of what to expect there. The main thing is to stay focused and prepared. You have to be mentally ready for anything that might come up when you’re being interviewed by teams.

I’ve picked up many tips on what to say, how to present myself as a professional football player. I’ll weigh in, do the physical, and most likely do the bench press. For the other workouts, I’ll wait until my pro day in a few weeks when I’m 100 percent healthy and at full speed.

From what I know, they pull you into different rooms to talk to officials from a lot of teams. I want to be there, and I want to present myself in the best way possible.

My training for the draft is pretty much a 24-hour job, and there isn’t too much free time. When I get home from working out, I just relax on the couch. Even then I’ll often be studying film or preparing for the Wonderlic test. When I have some free time, I’ll play some video games or read books to keep my mind sharp.

I also have to keep up a diet. In the morning, from 6:30 until about 12:30, it’s about shakes, to help me build up my protein and recover from my early workouts. For lunch, it’s some chicken, a salad, green beans, fresh fruit—solid carbs, not much fat. For dinner, it’s chicken or fish for most of them. It’s everything healthy, loaded with nutrients and protein.

If I didn’t have restrictions with my current training, I would still be careful with what I eat. I like turkey sandwiches, chicken tenders and mashed potatoes. That’s about as "bad for you" as it gets for me. I’m not much of a fast food kind of guy. When it comes to drinks, it’s a lot of water and Gatorade, keeping up my fluids and electrolytes.

With this diet, I’m feeling great, and I’ve never felt better. Knowing that I’m healthy, and the strongest I’ve ever been, it’s awesome.

It’s hard to beat the atmosphere of training at a facility with some many guys working hard for the same goal. It’s easy to get inspired to work even harder, doing everything you can to take care of the business at hand.

—As told to Vinnie Iyer

About the author

Rob Gronkowski, a third-team Associated Press All-American at tight end for Arizona in 2008, didn’t play in 2009 after having back surgery early in the season. He had 47 catches for 672 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008. He’ll chronicle his journey to the NFL draft for Sporting News.

This story first appeared in the February 22 edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today for free.

This Wednesday, I’m heading to the Combine. I’ve never been to Indianapolis, but I’m treating it like a business trip.

Focus and preparation: Keywords this week for Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Focus and preparation: Keywords this week for Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski.

I talked to my brother and other players who have gone through the process to get an idea of what to expect there. The main thing is to stay focused and prepared. You have to be mentally ready for anything that might come up when you’re being interviewed by teams.

I’ve picked up many tips on what to say, how to present myself as a professional football player. I’ll weigh in, do the physical, and most likely do the bench press. For the other workouts, I’ll wait until my pro day in a few weeks when I’m 100 percent healthy and at full speed.

From what I know, they pull you into different rooms to talk to officials from a lot of teams. I want to be there, and I want to present myself in the best way possible.

My training for the draft is pretty much a 24-hour job, and there isn’t too much free time. When I get home from working out, I just relax on the couch. Even then I’ll often be studying film or preparing for the Wonderlic test. When I have some free time, I’ll play some video games or read books to keep my mind sharp.

I also have to keep up a diet. In the morning, from 6:30 until about 12:30, it’s about shakes, to help me build up my protein and recover from my early workouts. For lunch, it’s some chicken, a salad, green beans, fresh fruit—solid carbs, not much fat. For dinner, it’s chicken or fish for most of them. It’s everything healthy, loaded with nutrients and protein.

If I didn’t have restrictions with my current training, I would still be careful with what I eat. I like turkey sandwiches, chicken tenders and mashed potatoes. That’s about as "bad for you" as it gets for me. I’m not much of a fast food kind of guy. When it comes to drinks, it’s a lot of water and Gatorade, keeping up my fluids and electrolytes.

With this diet, I’m feeling great, and I’ve never felt better. Knowing that I’m healthy, and the strongest I’ve ever been, it’s awesome.

It’s hard to beat the atmosphere of training at a facility with some many guys working hard for the same goal. It’s easy to get inspired to work even harder, doing everything you can to take care of the business at hand.

—As told to Vinnie Iyer

About the author

Rob Gronkowski, a third-team Associated Press All-American at tight end for Arizona in 2008, didn’t play in 2009 after having back surgery early in the season. He had 47 catches for 672 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008. He’ll chronicle his journey to the NFL draft for Sporting News.

This story first appeared in the February 22 edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today for free.

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