New England Patriots star TE Rob Gronkowski was reportedly healthy enough to play in Week 3, but Gronkowski and, reportedly, the Patriots are trying to get him as much rest as possible. Gronkowski still hasn’t played through the first five weeks of the regular season, and he isn’t expected to play in Week 6 against the New Orleans Saints either. Gronk and his camp do not trust the Patriots doctors, as Thomas Gill reportedly put Gronk under surgery after the first break when the surgery was not necessary. However, it was reported that both parties were on board to undergo that surgery, since they wanted Gronkowski back as soon as possible. We all know what happened to his arm next, and there is concern that Gronk’s arm will continue to be a long-term issue due to that unnecessary surgery.
Gronk’s teammates reportedly haven’t been too pleased about the whole situation, because they believe he is healthy enough to play. ESPN’s Ed Werder reports that the fact that Rob Gronkowski has not played yet has created “tension” among his teammates. They believe that Gronkowski’s dominance in practice indicates that he is fully healthy and ready to play, and that there is even “resentment” present. Werder reports that some Patriots players are even “wondering” if Rob Gronkowski will play at all this year.
In order for Gronk to play, he will need to have his arm medically cleared by a third party source in the noted Dr. James Andrews. He still hasn’t been cleared, and he is fully expected to miss yet another game. The Patriots decision to keep him on the 53-man roster is still not a waste, though, because Gronkowski has been able to practice, and opponents still have to gameplan for him (Sean Payton said as much earlier this week at a press conference).
A source told Werder that he believes there is “nothing wrong” with Gronk’s arm, and it’s alarming but not truly surprising to hear that his teammates are frustrated. Rob Gronkowski certainly has his long-term playing career in mind, and he doesn’t want to suffer yet another break. At the end of the day, Gronk is doing the right thing, and it’s really up to the players on this offense to stop dropping passes and generally increase their level of play. Blaming Gronk for not returning isn’t the right way to go about business (if teammates really are upset), because he did deal with returning too early before. I can’t comment on the severity of the injury since I don’t know, but what I do know is that players stepping up in the interim is going to make this team better in the long run. Why? If guys like Aaron Dobson improve significantly with the added snaps/targets, imagine how good this team will be once Gronk comes back.