Seattle safety Earl Thomas and New England tight end Rob Gronkowski took to Twitter Tuesday to show respect for the other following a memorable play in Sunday's game.
Among the most memorable plays of many in Seattle’s 31-24 win over New England Sunday night was a hit levied by Seahawk Earl Thomas on Rob Gronkowski with under five minutes to go in the second quarter.
While Gronkowski missed five plays after taking the hit, at the time believing he had just had the wind knocked out of him, he returned to finish out the game, with it then being revealed on Monday he had reportedly suffered a punctured lung that could cause him to miss a game or two. Gronkowski caught just one pass after taking the hit from Thomas, but it was a big one, a 26-yarder that got the Patriots to the 2-yard-line on their final drive (Thomas, who arrived at the end of the play, appears to have something of a resigned look of ‘what could we do about that?’ after it was over).
Thomas later said the second-quarter hit to help break up the pass was “probably one of the best plays I’ve made in my career” while Gronkowski said afterward it was “a good, clean hit” and one of the hardest he has taken in his career.
The two perennial Pro Bowl players then took to Twitter on Tuesday to continue their mutual admiration.
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First, Thomas said he has “Nothing but respect for Gronk. One of the best I’ve lined up against. Hoping to see him back on the field sooner than later.”
Later Tuesday night, Gronkowski responded “The respect is mutual man, you got the best of me on that one. The grind is real, you showed the fans a real football hit.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on Monday noted both how technique perfect he thought Thomas’ hit was as well as what he thought was a lot of respect shown by players on each side — illustrated anew in Tuesday’s Twitter exchange.
“We had a lot of respect for this club and the players who played and the coaches,” Carroll said. “I think the players demonstrated that throughout. This was a very clean game and a very upfront game. You saw illustrations of recognition of guys on the other teams a number of times. That’s a beautiful thing. It was nice to see that and it was a really hard fought game.”