Rob Gronkowski is coming off back surgery and hopes to rebound for the New England Patriots in 2016. What are the odds that he will make an impact again?
There is no arguing how good tight end Rob Gronkowski has been for the New England Patriots when healthy. In four of the five years Gronkowski has played at least 11 games, he has been a Pro Bowler and named first-team All-Pro. The lone exception was his rookie season.
Unfortunately, Gronk has also seen two of the past four years cut short due to serious injuries that required surgeries. Last season, he suffered a back injury and missed the final two months of New England’s Super Bowl run. Still, he led NFL tight ends with 21.6 yards per reception and continued to be a matchup nightmare when on the field.
The fact of the matter is Gronkowski has only really contributed in one Super Bowl. That was Super Bowl 49 against the Seattle Seahawks. Three years earlier, he was essentially a decoy with two catches in a Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants after suffering a high-ankle sprain.
Gronkowski has been named a player to avoid in fantasy football this season due to his injury history. He is also a leading candidate to win the league’s Comeback Player of the Year award. The Patriots even reworked his contract to reward him for being healthy.
On Sunday, Gronkowski told reporters — including ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss — that he is happy to be back playing football again. Here’s more of what he had to say:
"“Super excited. It’s going super well. Being with the new teammates right now, working together, it’s awesome. You just have to always look at the positives. Right now I’m feeling great. I’m feeling good out there with the team. We’re just at the stage right now, OTAs, offseason workouts, just getting to know each other, feeling it all out. Everything is going good. So I’m just happy to be where I am, happy to be out on the field playing football and participating.”"
For the Patriots, they will be super excited if he can find a way to play all 16 regular-season games in 2017. That has not happened since 2011.