‘Gronk-Gate’ is officially over. I can’t remember a situation like the one that we witnessed over the past week concerning Gronkowski’s availability for quite some time. Every day a new report would surface with “new details” about Gronk’s health, and of course most of them were wrong. But all the rumors and speculation finally ended today when ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Gronkowski,along with wide receiver Danny Amendola did not travel with the team to Atlanta, and would not participate in Sunday’s contest.
There had been talk surrounding Amendola, and that he may be ready to play on Sunday, but I didn’t buy into any of this. The time-table for his return had been set for 4-6 weeks after he re-injured his groin in week one, and despite appearing to be ahead of schedule, returning in three weeks would be a little insane.
All of this seems like bad news for the Pats, but one silver lining we can take out of this is. Both of these guys should (I say should because you never know with all of the controversy surrounding Gronk and “his camp”) be ready for next week’s bout with the Bengals. Cincinnati’s defense presents a much tougher challenge to the Pats than the Falcons unit does, so their injury situation may end up benefiting New England more than it appears.
Having Gronkowski and Amendola at 100% for the playoffs is the number one key for this offense, and rushing them back before they are ready is the last thing the Patriots want to do. Hopefully holding them out will allow them to rest up even more, and come back ready to help elevate a struggling offensive attack.