Patriots Still Deciding Rob Gronkowski’s Week 1 Status

by Michael Drahota | Posted on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 | 0

Gronk Spike

New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski started the 2013 season injured, missing the first six games of the season recovering from surgery on his forearm. He returned to take over games like only he can, but saw another unfortunate set of circumstances when a low hit in a Week 14 match-up with the Cleveland Browns tore his ACL.

Gronkowski has since been diligent in his rehab, stating to the media that he wants to play all 16 games in 2014. While he said that he was on track to start in Week 1 yesterday, today, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spoke up to CSN New England to offer the view that the team is still deciding what to do with Gronkowski:

“I’m glad that Rob’s optimistic about this situation,” Belichick said. “We’ll go through the week of practice and take a look at everything, everybody, and see where everybody’s at and try to do what we feel like is best for the team. With all due respect to Rob — I’m glad he feels the way he does — but, in the end, we’ll have to make the decision we feel like is best for the team and we’ll do that as we go through the week.”

Belichick’s statement embodies the true Patriots team-first mentality, and they’ve always been notoriously ambiguous on their injury updates. Obviously they’re going to take things slowly in getting Gronkowski adjusted to the speed of the NFL game. Gronkowski didn’t play in the preseason; something, which Belichick said, is a main reason why they’re not committed to playing him fully just yet:

“When you start the season . . . and a player hasn’t played in the preseason,” Belichick said, “there’s still game speed and game situations, all the communication that goes in the game — whether it’s offense, defense or in the kicking game — that’s just different in practice. I think you have to be ready to handle that and work with your teammates in those conditions in that type of time frame and those types of game situations that change so fluidly.”

The legendary head coach knows that Gronkowski’s recovery is still progressing as it’s been just over nine months since it happened. The bulldozing end zone presence has had a lengthy history of ailments since 2012, and Belichick is aware that one big hit could see Gronkowski forced to the sidelines yet again.

New England traded for pass catching tight end Tim Wright as part of the deal that shipped Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay, but he’s no replacement for the all-world talents of Gronkowski. He seems to think he’ll be ready to contribute in Week 1, but Belichick will have the final say.

And if history tells anything about the Pats, we won’t know until we’re watching the game.

About the Author

Both an avid NFL fan and analyst, I’ve been following professional football since the late 1980s. I’m also an avid fantasy football player with several league victories under my belt. Check out my NFL articles on TSM for the latest NFL news, highlights, predictions, and more.

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