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The last time Rob Gronkowski was in Denver, on
Nov. 29, he had to be carted off the field in the fourth quarter after taking a low hit from safety Darian Stewart. Gronkowski suffered a bone bruise and sprain of his right knee on the play, and was forced to miss the Patriots' next game, against the Eagles.
The hit was not flagged and New England quarterback Tom Brady later defended Stewart in his postgame news conference.
"I hate to see it, but it really is the only the way defenders can hit now," Brady said after the Patriots' overtime loss. "I bet if you asked the players they would really rather go high than low. I don't think it's dirty; I just think that is how football is played now."
But the play, and recent comments made by players of both teams, have seemingly made the upcoming AFC championship game personal.
On Monday, Broncos linebacker Brand Marshall told Pro Football Talk that Gronkowski "pushes off and he gets away with it about 98 percent of the time."
Cornerback Chris Harris followed, during his guest appearance on ESPN's SportsCenter Tuesday morning, when he said the only way to contain Gronkowski was to get him low.
"Hit him in his knees," Harris said. "That's the best chance you have of hitting him."
Later Tuesday, Gronkowski responded, but to a commenter on Twitter.
"Heard their whole team is good at giving low blows," Gronkowski posted.
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