Rob Gronkowski makes his first career 'podium' appearance

Injury concerns in New England? (3:14)

ESPN's Michele Steele and Mike Reiss discuss the Patriots' injury situation, Rob Gronkowski prepping for the Broncos' low hits and owner Robert Kraft's behind-the-scenes presence with the team. (3:14)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski arrived for a news conference late Thursday morning as part of the media build-up to the AFC Championship Game, he immediately smiled.

"Wow. My first podium [appearance]. I'm big-time!" he joked as he swayed side to side, drawing laughter from reporters in attendance. "It's been a dream [for] six years."

Given Gronkowski's enjoyment of professional wrestling, and the theatrics that come with it, one almost expected him to knock the podium over in excitement. There's a playfulness about him that is hard to miss and Thursday was no exception.

Along those lines, Gronkowski was asked about his tweet in response to the Broncos saying they planned to hit him low, and if he was surprised it received so much attention (it had more than 58,000 re-tweets).

"No, I was just having a little fun with it, hoping to get a little laughs, which I think it did," he said. "It's just all fun and games with that."

Asked if he wanted to elaborate more than the 140 characters allowed on Twitter, Gronkowski smiled, laughed, and said, "No, I'm good."

Gronkowski was happy to elaborate on a different topic -- how he's become a leader on the team, worthy of making an appearance at the podium leading into the AFC Championship Game.

"When I was first here as a rookie I would've never thought in six years I would be at the stage I am now," he said. "I feel like every time I step into the building, definitely there are younger guys, newer guys coming in I feel like definitely asking me stuff, looking up to me."