The biggest story this week going into Super Bowl XLVI is the ankle of New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. And as usual, everyone in the Patriots organization is unwilling to disclose any information to outsiders on his status.
The Patriots under Bill Belichick have become masters at not letting anyone outside of the organization have any idea of what is going on inside the organization. Patriots’ injury reports often have more than a dozen players on it with unspecified injuries. Gronkowski seems to have taken to this way of doing things quite well. During the Patriots media day Tuesday morning, Gronkowski didn’t let slip any information on the ankle even when being grilled on the topic.
Last week Rob’s father, Gordy Gronkowski, told a local Buffalo television station that Rob had a high ankle sprain. If that’s true, then the day-to-day status that the Patriots have Gronkowski listed as would be misleading. High ankle sprains usually take weeks or even months to heal and Gronkowski only has a matter of days until the big game.
Gronkowski and Belichick aren’t the only ones who are deflecting questions on the ankle either. Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien was interviewed for ESPNU’s National Signing Day Special on Wednesday afternoon about the recruiting class of his next job, head coach at Penn State. At the end of the interview he was asked about the status Gronkowski’s ankle. His reply was a simple and uninformative, “You’ll have to ask Bill Belichick on that one.” A great answer for a question on injuries for a Patriots employee.
None of this would be an issue if it wasn’t a key player but that’s exactly what Rob Gronkowski is. The key of the success of the Patriots offense is the mismatches created by their two dynamic tight ends, Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. This season, Gronkowski set a new NFL record for receiving yards by a tight end of 1,327 and touchdowns by a tight end of 18 (17 receiving, 1 rushing). In the two postseason wins for the Patriots over the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens, Gronkowski had 15 catches for 232 yards and three touchdowns.
Likely nobody outside of the Patriots organization will know Gronkowski’s true status until Sunday night at 6:00 when the Patriots kick off Super Bowl XLVI against the New York Giants. Until then, the nation’s media will continue to get the run-around on anything relating to Gronk or his now infamous ankle.