Posted October 18, 2013

Rob Gronkowski ‘cleared by all his doctors,’ according to agent Drew Rosenhaus

AFC East, New England Patriots
Tight end Rob Gronkowski has not played for the Patriots since their Jan. 13 playoff game against the Texans.

Rob Gronkowski has not played for the Patriots since their Jan. 13 playoff game against the Texans last season. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski may finally make his long-awaited 2013 debut Sunday when his New England Patriots take on the rival New York Jets. Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, reportedly texted multiple media outlets that “Rob Gronkowski has now been cleared by all his doctors to play Sunday in the Jets game.”

ESPN.com, Pro Football Talk and the NFL Network all released that news at approximately the same time Friday morning. The team has yet to announce whether or not Gronkowski will play on Sunday.

Gronkowski’s status has been up in the air for what feels like an eternity; though he has been practicing with the Patriots for several weeks now, Gronkowski has yet to make a game appearance for the 5-1 team. That situation reportedly led to some “resentment” toward Gronkowski within the Patriots’ locker room. (QB Tom Brady later dismissed the notion that teammates were upset with Gronkowski’s continued absence.)

The 24-year-old tight end struggled with a back injury this offseason (he missed an entire season in college due to similar problems) and had to go under the knife multiple times in hopes of repairing the forearm he fractured last season. The repair process was halted by post-surgery infections in the arm, and subsequent clean-up surgeries kept Gronkowski on the sideline throughout the preseason.

The Patriots avoided starting the season with him on the PUP list, though, which would have forced him to sit out the first six weeks of the season. They did so with the obvious hope that Gronkowski would make his debut before now, in Week 7. He was “50-50″ to play as far back as Week 3 against Tampa Bay but opted on multiple occasions not to roll the dice.

Though the Patriots have found ways to win without him, Gronkowski immediately would step in and become Brady’s top available target again. Through six games, Julian Edelman has led New England with 41 catches. Rookies Kenbrell Thompkins (21 receptions) and Aaron Dobson (19) are behind him, followed by injury-plagued receiver Danny Amendola (16). The most productive tight end to this point has been Michael Hoomanawanui with a mere eight receptions.

Contrast that number with the 106 combined catches Gronkowski and ex-Patriot Aaron Hernandez made in 2012, despite missing a total of 11 games between them, and it’s easy to see how much different the New England attack may look with Gronkowski in the lineup. A two-time Pro Bowler, Gronkowski has averaged 62.3 catches over his three NFL seasons, and he has scored double-digit touchdowns every year. In fact, he led the league in touchdowns in 2011 with 17.

A healthy Gronkowski also should provide a boost to the Patriots’ up-and-down run game. At an athletic 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, Gronkowski has become one of the team’s top blockers — Pro Football Focus rated him as the No. 4 run-blocking tight end in football last season.

The Patriots also will welcome any emotional boost Gronkowski’s return can provide. They have scrapped through the first six weeks of the season, with four of their five wins coming by seven points or less. Wins the next two weeks over the Jets and Dolphins, would secure their stranglehold on the AFC East.

And with Gronkowski finally ready to return, the Patriots may again look like a legitimate threat to make a Super Bowl run.

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7 comments
espnrefugee0218
espnrefugee0218

Poor Gronk, if only he wasnt out there on a meaningless PAT attempt.  Bill Bellichek is a genuis

It was this exactly 1 year ago (week 7)  I started Aaron Hernandez on my fantasy team,  and he laid an egg.  Now I know he was too  preoccupied with PCP and the constant urge to murder people.  (but the pats didnt know....yeah right)  

Its ok though, in the offseason they decided it would be better to let Wes Welker walk away to the best team in the NFL and sign Mr. Glass him self Danny Amendola

Thank you pats for being so arrogant, the patriot way ha! 

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

The agent made the announcement?  You have got to be kidding me.  

What a total idiot.


Ralph10
Ralph10

Remember that look on Rob Ryan's face when Thompkins caught the winning touchdown against the Saints.... That's the same look Sexy Rexy now has with this news.

riley8
riley8

@Ralph10 Rob took the worst Defense in NFL HISTORY and made them respectable.  It would have been different if that was Chad Henne or some hack.  That was Tom friggin Brady.  Maybe you've heard of him.