- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Rob Gronkowski parties almost as well as he plays football, and now he’s showing off both sides of his larger-than-life personality as a cover model.

Gronkowski was selected for the cover of the Madden NFL 17 on Thursday. At the same time, he’ll be appearing on the front of GQ magazine along with model Hailey Clauson.

Gronkowski said that just making it into the video game his rookie year was a thrill.

“Now, going into my seventh year and being on the cover, it’s surreal,” he said, rattling off the names of previous cover selections from memory. “You’re joining an elite category. Just joining that category, it’s something you’ll have the rest of your life.”

Gronkowski succeeds Odell Beckham Jr. on the video game cover. But while last year’s edition showed the New York Giants receiver making a one-handed catch, Madden 17 features a classic Gronk spike.

The GQ cover is another Gronkowski trademark: He’s partying it up, shirtless, with a bikini-wearing Clauson on his shoulders.

Gronkowski said he was healthy and ready to get back onto the football field and hoping to catch passes from Tom Brady for all 16 games this season. Brady has been suspended for the first four games as a result of last year’s “Deflategate” scandal, though the ultimate result is still in the courts.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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