Pat Freiermuth doesn’t want to be called Baby Gronk

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Rob Gronkowski may have ruined a generation of tight ends playing football forever. It seems everywhere you look these days in college football, the next big tight ends are being referred to as Baby Gronk. Former Penn State tight end and new Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Pat Freiermuth hates it.

“I hate it,” Freiermuth said after his first rookie camp with the Steelers this week, according to All Steelers. “I think it’s pretty annoying. I am trying to get away from that nickname. So I won’t be called that.”

It would make perfect sense for a member of the Steelers to abhor the very idea of being referred to as a player who made a name for himself playing for the New England Patriots. But Freiermuth suspects the Baby Gronk nickname was easily influenced by being from the New England area. But he still hates it.

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“I hate it because I think it’s pretty annoying,” Freiermuth said. “I don’t like being called Baby Gronk. I’m trying to get away from that nickname. I don’t want to be called that.”

Freiermuth is hardly the only young tight end to be called Baby Gronk. Florida’s Kyle Pitts, who was drafted with the fourth overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2021 NFL draft, has undoubtedly had the comparison made about him as well as others. And more will be coming in the years to come.

There is some reason to be flattered to be compared to Gronkowski. Gronkowski, who played his senior year of high school for Woodland Hills High School near Pittsburgh, has gone on to have a wildly successful career in the NFL. He is a four-time Super Bowl champion, including last season with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after coming out of retirement for one season. Gronkowski has been selected to play in five Pro Bowls and is a four-time All-Pro.

But Freiermuth is hoping to one day have young tight ends be referred to as Baby Muth (note to self: trademark that ASAP). Freiermuth was selected in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft by the Steelers and is coming off a First-Team All-Big Ten season for the Nittany Lions.

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