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Gronk: Earl Thomas hit one of the hardest I've taken

When Rob Gronkowski goes rumbling down the seam, it's usually the Patriots tight end who does the punishing. The equation can have a different result when Earl Thomas is involved.

In the second quarter of Sunday night's Super Bowl XLIX rematch, Thomas dropped Gronkowski with a clean hit to the chest that sent Gronk to the sidelines for five plays. Bonus points to the Seahawks' All-Pro safety for decking one of the game's titans and walking away like it was nothing.

After the Patriots' 31-24 loss, Gronk acknowledged few players have ever hit him harder.

"Yeah, that was a big hit for sure; probably one of the hardest I've got hit in my career for sure," he said, via "(It was) by a good player; a good fast player who's like a missile."

"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 breath, but once it comes back, you're good."

Gronk is such a bulk that often times defenders opt to go low in an effort took take him off his feet and, you know, live to see their family again. You may remember a low hit tore up Gronk's knee and ended his season in 2013. Thomas fearlessly took Gronk on, which tells you a lot.

"Yeah, it was a good, clean hit," Gronk said. "I have no problem with it. He hit me fair and square. It's football. You're going to get laid out eventually."

That walk-off, though ...

UPDATE 6:40 p.m. ET:Earl Thomas probably has something to do with this:

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