Rob Gronkowski is a three-time All-Pro. He caught 82 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He is widely considered the best tight end in the NFL.

Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane is not impressed.

“I actually don’t think he’s that good,” Lane said Thursday. “He’s OK. He does have a big body. But from what I’ve seen on tape, he doesn’t like you putting your hands on him. So if we put our hands on him and shake him up a little bit, he won’t catch that many balls.”

With Gronkowski lining up in the slot fairly regularly in the Patriots’ offense, there is a good chance that Lane, the Seahawks’ nickel back, will have a chance to cover him in the Super Bowl. Gronkowski is 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds while Lane is listed at 6-foot, 190. But that half a foot and 75-pound difference didn’t seem to concern Lane. He does, after all, play in the Seahawks’ secondary. They are known as much for their physical play as their chirping before, during and after games.

He’s not even the first to start playing verbal press coverage this week. Cornerback Richard Sherman set that tone Wednesday when he called out Tom Brady for trash talking that contradicts his image as a clean-cut player and then continued his insistence that he’s better that Darrelle Revis.

The difference here is Sherman won’t be tangled up with Revis and won’t be covering Brady (although he could be defending passes thrown by the quarterback). Lane will very likely find himself face-to-face with Gronkowski in the big game.

With more than a week until then, he isn’t flinching.

“That’s always our key every week, putting our hands on the receivers,” Lane said. “It’s definitely an issue with (Gronkowski) from watching tape … I’m good no matter who’s lined up there.”

Lane also said the Seahawks have “a plan” for the unbalanced lines and ineligible receiver formations the Patriots have used in the playoffs to confuse opposing defenses. He said the key is to mark your man as a defender and not worry about the peripheral activity.

“Most of the time, if you look at the quarterback throw it, you’ll look at the receiver catch the ball,” Lane said. “(Defensive backs) coach (Kris Richard) always reminds us of that. Keep your eyes on your luggage. That’s what we call it. Keep your eyes on your man and everything else will take care of itself.”

When Lane’s man is Gronkowski, it will be hard to miss him. He’ll be the big guy who read these comments and is snarling to prove them wrong.

THE NFL fined Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch $20,000 for making an obscene gesture during Sunday’s NFC championship game, a person with knowledge of the fine told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The league did not specify what the gesture was in the win over Green Bay, but Lynch grabbed his crotch after scoring a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Lynch was fined $11,000 for a similar gesture in Seattle’s win over Arizona on Dec. 21.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the fine has not been publicly announced.

Lynch has a history of drawing fines from the NFL, mostly for not talking to the media as required under his contract. He was fined $50,000 in November for repeated violations of the league’s media policy. At that time the league collected a $50,000 fine that was imposed against Lynch for violations in 2013. That fine from 2013 was held in anticipation of future cooperation from Lynch – cooperation that has not occurred.

FROM TWIZZLES to touchdowns, salchows to safeties, here come Tara and Johnny.

NBC will use figure skating commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir on its pregame show for the Super Bowl.

Lipinski, the 1998 Olympic champion, and three-time U.S. champ Weir were a sensation as announcers at last year’s Sochi Olympics. They’ve become the main analysts for the network’s coverage of the sport and will hustle from the national championships this weekend in Greensboro, North Carolina, to Phoenix to help cover the Super Bowl.

They will be based at the official NFL pregame tailgate party for VIP guests, where they will interview celebrities – and also provide their own Super Bowl observations.