New England signed former Denver Broncos tight end Dan Gronkowski on Wednesday, giving the Patriots two of the three brothers currently on NFL rosters. Dan's new locker is a few steps down "Gronkowski Row" from little brother Rob, who was drafted by New England last year; middle brother Chris is a running back who was claimed off waivers by the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
"You're grateful to have brothers in the league. But then when it comes down to it, you get a brother on the same team -- that's awesome," Rob said Wednesday as the Patriots prepared for Monday night's game against the Miami Dolphins.
"It was already a dream come true that he was in the NFL at the same time. But having him on the same team is awesome. To have someone there (can give you) a lot more support, a lot more intensity that we can bring out of each other because we know each other like this. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Rob Gronkowski, 22, played in all 16 games for the Patriots last year after being selected in the second round of the draft out of Arizona. He caught 42 passes for 546 yards and 10 touchdowns. Dan Gronkowski, 26, was a seventh-round pick out of Maryland who has played in 14 games over two seasons with the Detroit Lions and Broncos, catching nine passes total.
By the way, Chris Gronkowski, 24, signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent but was waived at the end of camp before latching on with the Colts. And another brother, Glenn, is at Kansas State.
"I think the two brothers were giving each other headlocks in the locker room yesterday, and they're excited," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. "He seems to be a nice guy -- mature and he has some familiarity with what we've done."
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said it will help that Dan played for former New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in Denver, "so it's easy to see him doing some of the things that are similar to what we do."
Gronkowski also will help in the kicking game, Belichick said.
"He's been involved," the coach said. "When you're a tight end, you have to be involved in all facets of the game. I don't think he has big receiving numbers, but he can run and catch the ball."
Asked for a scouting report on his brother, Rob said Dan is a hard worker who has been busy trying to learn the Patriots playbook. Dan was not available on Wednesday when the team's locker room was open to reporters.
"He just came in yesterday, so he has to catch up on everything," Rob said. "We have no time to interact as brothers right now. We're both just focused on the job and getting it done. It feels just like another player right now, because he's just working hard to get down the plays."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press