FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Great Northwest isn't entirely unfamiliar territory for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, having played collegiately at the University of Arizona in what is now known as the Pac-12 conference.
But he'll take the field at CenturyLink Field for in Seattle for the first time as a pro this Sunday, and he understands the challenge on hand in accounting for the rambunctious Seahawks fan base.
Gronkowski told reporters on Wednesday that going on the road to a difficult atmosphere makes on-field communication a challenge.
"It's just about during practice, all about communication skills, all about signaling, all about working together as a team. All about working together, with each other to communicate with each other," he said. "[We've] just got to keep working on that during practice."
One step Gronkowski will take in his pre-game preparation is familiarizing himself with the surroundings of a new stadium.
"You want to check out the stadium to see where everything is," Gronkowski said. "Where the scoreboard is located, the time and everything, that's what you really check out. What you're basically focused [on], what the task is, what your job is, and just focus and [get] ready to go and play a football game."
It's possible that Gronkowski will be joined on the field this Sunday by his partner in football crime, fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez, who practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday as he continues to work his way back from an ankle injury.
His presence on the field would naturally be welcomed by Gronkowski.
"He's a great player, and you definitely always want him out with you," he said of Hernandez. "We'll see what happens."
As for his own health (Gronkowski was once again limited in practice with a hip injury on Wednesday), he said he's feeling good.
" Just working with the training staff everyday, just getting out there to get better," he said.