It was reported yesterday that New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski does not have a realistic chance at playing against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, but we still don’t know whether or not Gronk will end up hitting the PUP list. Adam Schefter followed up that initial report by citing a source that stated it is a “huge stretch” to think Gronkowski will play against the Bills. However, another source stated that Gronk “looks great”, so the team is pleased with his progress.
Rob Gronkowski has had a great recovery from offseason back and arm surgeries, but this is yet another report from Schefter stating that it is unlikely for Gronk to start the season healthy. That’s certainly fine by me, because the last thing that needs to happen is Gronk re-injuring himself by coming back too soon. The concerns regarding Gronk’s health are still there, but he should be good to go in the future if the Patriots handle him correctly right now. If that means placing him on the PUP list, then so be it. The Patriots have plenty of depth at tight end anyway, and it is much better to have Gronkowski back later on in the season and healthy than healthy at the beginning of the season and potentially hurt at the end. But we’ll see, and I’m sure the Patriots will make the right call with the information they have (the only info we have comes from Schefter and the Boston Herald, which is great but is not the full picture).
A source close to the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian reports that Rob Gronkowski is “right on schedule” to return to the team in mid-September, and he is reportedly expected to be healthy around the time when the New England Patriots take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3. The source close to the Herald also stated that Gronk is progressing well, and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen also reported later yesterday that Gronkowski is targeting a return in September. The Herald reports that it is more realistic for Gronkowski to return in Week 3 than Week 1, and that has to be the case based on the other reports.
The question for the Patriots is whether or not they want to use up a roster spot on Gronkowski and cut a tight end (most likely Daniel Fells) in order for him to play three games, or if the Pats would rather rest him more and have another TE on the roster for those six games (with the first three being the most important for this purpose).