Rob Gronkowski, Zoltan Mesko enjoy idle time
FOXBORO, Nov 09, 2012 (Boston Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
When Rob Gronkowski's teammates stand around the locker room singing, "Ground control to Major Gronk," it can only mean one thing.
OK, so maybe it can mean a whole lot more than one thing, but whatever. Either way, the Patriots tight end teamed up with punter Zoltan Mesko yesterday to Skype with an astronaut on the International Space Station.
The pair of Pats spoke to Sunita Williams, who graduated from Needham High School in 1983, from the locker room at Gillette Stadium. NASA coordinated the conversation with the Patriots, and they got the timing to work before Williams returns to Houston within the month.
Mesko started the call, which was fitting because he was dubbed "The Space Emperor of Space" by a fan base at Michigan. He spent a few minutes talking to Williams, who could see the locker room through an iPad, and jokingly asked if she could see the nor'easter from the space station.
Gronkowski strolled by as it was taking place and seemed amazed by it all. He stood next to Pats owner Robert Kraft for a couple minutes before taking the handoff from Mesko.
"He's going to Gronk spike one all the way up to you," Mesko told Williams. "Make sure you catch it."
Gronkowski asked Williams, "Are you floating right now " before the conversation shifted gears a bit, and it appeared the two shared an equal amount of excitement over the ordeal.
Then, as Gronkowski concluded the exchange, a couple teammates serenaded him with a David Bowie-style music number.
Tight end Aaron Hernandez said he has found some perspective. He spent his 23rd birthday Tuesday celebrating the birth of his first daughter, and it opened his eyes to some things.
"One thing I know is it definitely changed my life," Hernandez said. "I'm going to look at things differently. I may be the young and wild, but I'm not. I'm engaged now. I have a baby. It's just going to make me think of life a lot differently, and doing things the right way, because now another one is looking up to me. I can't be young and reckless Aaron anymore, so I'm going to try to do the right thing, become a good father and (have her) be raised like I was raised."
As for Hernandez the football player, he participated in his second consecutive practice yesterday, and he looked better than the guy who was limited to bike work a couple of weeks ago.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Hernandez said. "I'm happy, smiling."
And when asked why he randomly wore his road white game jersey to practice, which stuck out much more than the team's bland workout jerseys, Hernandez said, "Game time, that's it."
The Patriots' $40 million man appeared to be on track to return to game action, and it could come during one of the best weeks of his life.
"It's an honor, and I couldn't have asked for my life to be better at this point," Hernandez said. "My life is pretty good, and thank God for that. It's a blessing, and I feel blessed daily."
The first half of the Patriots schedule included just two division games, but three of their next four are against AFC East opponents. That's not unique to the rest of the league, as the Pats are one of 21 teams that have played two or fewer division games.
The upcoming stretch will give the Pats a chance to create some distance against their closest competitors.
"You always want to separate yourself from those teams," linebacker Jerod Mayo said. "This is a game we feel we need to have. I think the sense of urgency is there and we have to start stringing them together."
Linebacker Brandon Spikes ran and stretched with his teammates during the early portion of practice. That was an improvement from Wednesday, when he spent those portions on the stationary bike. Yet, Spikes was still listed as limited on the injury report.
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