New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Pats "leaning toward" activating Gronk?

New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski was seen working out and catching passes during practice away from the team, and that led many to wonder if Gronkowski was getting closer to returning. That activity seemed to point towards the reports stating that Gronkowski will be ready around Week 3, and there is no indication that those reports are false. Even after Bill Belichick gruffly stated in his press conference that Gronkowski has always been out there, it certainly appeared as if Week 3 is a legitimate target date for Rob Gronkowski to return.

Yesterday, the NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported that the Patriots are “leaning towards” activating Gronk from the active/PUP list and placing him on the 53-man roster instead of on the reserve/PUP list. Breer added that Gronkowski is not realistically expected to return until late September, but that still means that he can play in a good three games between Week 1 and 6. Placing him on the reserve/PUP would cause Gronkowski to miss the first six games of the regular season, even though he is on track to play in Week 3. He’s such a valuable player that it’s worth keeping him on the roster, but the arguments against placing Gronk on the PUP are also legitimate ones.

For instance, some fans are still concerned about Gronkowski’s recovery from arm and back surgeries. It might be better to have Gronkowski healthy later on in the season, but there is no guarantee of that just by placing him on the PUP list. There isn’t a risk of Gronkowski not being fully ready, and we should also remember that players on the PUP list cannot practice. That would leave Gronk rusty for the seventh game of the season. It is best for the Patriots to keep Gronk on the roster, cut Daniel Fells and his salary, and then allow Gronkowski to ease into things. If that means he plays in Week 4 instead of Week 3, then so be it.

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Tags: New England Patriots Rob Gronkowski

  • Paul V. Suffriti

    I like the idea of activating Gronk rather than placing him on the PUP list. He will be able to practice with the team if he is on the roster, They will obviously monitor his progress when the season starts. If he is not ready by week 3 or 4, they can still keep him out of the lineup. When they feel he is close to 100% playing condition, then he will be the most dangerous weapon Brady has to throw the ball to and defenses will have another headache to cover…..never mind his great run blocking ability.

    • Joe Soriano

      I love how you underscored his ability to block and implied that it is more important than his pass-catching, because Gronk’s blocking is simply at a legendary level for a TE. Gronk is such a monster, and you absolutely have to play a guy like him whenever he is ready. He is that good. Would you ever consider Fells to even be a fifth of the difference-maker that Gronk is? Of course not. Then why pay him and use him as a reason for placing Gronk on the PUP? Paul, you are right on the money when you state that the Patriots will have a much easier time monitoring his progress when, you know, he can actually practice.

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