Gronkowski on Hernandez & Bills

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Given tight end Rob Gronkowski's breakout season and his ties to Western New York, he was a natural choice to be the player chosen for the opponents' conference call with Bills media today.

On the call, Gronkowski was asked about fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez missing out out on the Pro Bowl.

"He’s a great player and I love playing with him and I believe we help each other out and everything," Gronkowski said. "I think he should of [made it], but I mean it is what it is and I think he’s the first alternate."

The Patriots generally don't announce which players are alternates, but Hernandez would seem to be in line for that spot after being edged by the Chargers' Antonio Gates.

As for playing against the Bills on Sunday, Gronkowski said the matchup is special for him.

"It’s always a pleasure because of growing up there and everything, being a Bills fan as a young kid and everything," he said. "It’s always a cool honor to go against your hometown team that you grew up in."