Seattle Seahawks safety and face puncher Earl Thomas delivered one of the hardest hits you'll ever see on Sunday, on one of the biggest pass catchers you'll ever see: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Gronk called it "a big hit for sure; probably one of the hardest I’ve got hit in my career for sure."
— TheInsideZone (@TheInsideZoneUK) November 14, 2016
"[It was] by a good player; a good fast player who’s like a missile," the Patriots tight end said of Thomas after the Seahawks beat New England 31-24. "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 breathe, but once it comes back, you’re good.”
Though at least one report indicated that Gronkowski suffered a punctured lung in the game, his injury is now believed to be a bruised sternum. It's bad enough that he canceled an EA Sports promotional date on Tuesday.
When Thomas, who's already shown he's an affectionate guy on the football field, learned of Gronk's injury, he responded with a classy tweet.
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.
— Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) November 15, 2016
Gronk answered with kind words of his own, showing that he can appreciate a great hit, even when he's on the receiving end.
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. https://t.co/p57PLVQZ3C
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) November 16, 2016