Patriots' Edelman: Rob Gronkowski 'is just a beast'

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been considered a man-child for quite some time now, but after a mammoth three-touchdown performance in the season opener on Thursday, teammate Julian Edelman was able to put that thought into a different perspective.

"I've said it over and over, he's just a beast," Edelman told NFL Media's Kimberly Jones. "It's like watching sometimes an eighth grader play with second graders."

Edelman's quote particularly rang true of Thursday night. Maybe it's simply because we haven't seen Gronkowski play in a few months. Maybe it was because Pittsburgh was that ill-equipped to cover him.

His five-catch reel highlighted the best of the gigantic tight end, from the balletic to the downright powerful. Bill Belichick may be the only coach in football who can wreak absolute havoc out of a simple goal line set where he splits two tight ends out wide.

Of course, he owes this luxury to the man-child.

Game planning would be a lot more complex if he didn't have an eighth grader against all those second graders.

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