Kyle Rudolph is the best tight end in football. That’s at least the opinion of Kyle Rudolph. The Minnesota Vikings tight end has expressed the view before. More recently, Rudolph was asked if he still thinks of himself as the game’s best tight end. His answer left no doubt.
“Absolutely,” Rudolph said, per Chris Tomasson, Pioneer Press.“Route running and catching balls, to many, is all that matters. But it’s also (about) being one of the best blockers, one of the best pass protectors.”
To cut Rudolph some slack, he is a very good tight end. Additionally, professional athletes have to be confident, if not cocky. After all you need to have confidence in your teammates. It would be hard to have to have confidence in someone who publicly states that 4-5 players (or more) at his own position are better.
The problem is that his words are shortsighted. It’s certainly true that pass catching grabs the majority of the attention of the average fan. In Rudolph’s own words “The world revolves around fantasy football.” No fantasy football owner cares about what kind of a blocker his or her tight end is.
But to say what Rudolph said implies at least indirectly that the great pass catching tight ends (like Rob Gronkowski) are poor blockers. While Gronk’s catches and overall antics may make the highlight reels, he’s also a fantastic blocker.
Only Rudolph can say if that’s what he meant or not. But if Gronkowski is reading the quote, it would be fair for him to be at least a little bothered by the between-the-lines implication.
Rudolph is a fine tight end. It would not be wise for him to list tight ends that are better than he, but this comment was also ill-advised. Saying “no comment” might be boring but in this case, it would have been more appropriate.