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Terps' Gronkowski living a fantasy

October 03, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- On the surface, Dan Gronkowski is like any other college football player.

He wants to do his best. He wants to go out a winner. He wouldn't mind a look from the NFL for a possible professional career.

Gronkowski has worked hard to get all that stuff. He went from being a quarterback recruit to a 270-pound tight end. And then he reversed it all, using yoga and diet to transform his body to become lighter and quicker to turn into a valuable receiving target for the University of Maryland.

There is a lot of drive for the obvious, but there is maybe a little added incentive to it all.

He would like to win what amounts to the Gronkowski family's version of fantasy football.

"I've got two brothers who play for Arizona and another one playing in high school," the Terps' senior tight end said. "We joke with each other about it and compare. It helps us get ready for games."

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The Gronkowskis are to tight ends what the Jackson Five was to music.

Maryland's Gronkowski is the second of five brothers from Amherst, N.Y. Gordie, the oldest brother, played baseball. The rest have taken it to the football field.

Brothers Chris and Rob are members of the University of Arizona team. Rob is a highly touted sophomore tight end for the Wildcats, while Chris, a junior, is a running back who transferred to Arizona after spending two seasons as a walk-on fullback with the Terps.

Meanwhile, youngest brother Glenn is a high school sophomore, who started playing tight end before becoming a wide receiver for the Williamsville (N.Y.) North football team.

And from there the competition begins.

"Right now, I lead in yardage and catches but one of my brothers just came back and caught two touchdowns in his first game," Dan Gronkowski said.

Rob Gronkowski, who was a freshman All-American last year, missed Arizona's first three games with mononucleosis. He returned to catch three passes, two for TDs, in the Wildcats' 31-10 win over UCLA on Sept. 20.

Chris Gronkowski caught a pass in each of the Wildcats' first two games for a total of 36 yards and a touchdown.

Glenn Gronkowski has at least one touchdown catch.

Dan Gronkowski has been holding his own in Maryland's new West Coast offense with 10 catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns, good for the early family lead.

One of the benefits of having a brother playing the same position is a scouting report, even if it is accidental.

"We were watching films to get ready for the California game and we got one from when they played Arizona," Gronkowski said. "I got to watch my brother play that game. It was kind of cool. I guess when they play Cal, they will be looking at our films and he will be seeing me play."

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