Rumors started swirling on Friday that the New England Patriots are considering keeping Rob Gronkowski on their 53-man roster to start the season. This comes after an entire offseason where most people agreed he would begin the season on the physically unable to perform list. Gronk is of course coming off of four surgeries, three on his arm and one on his back.
With roster cuts starting to be announced, some light is finally being shed on Gronk’s status for the 2013 season. The Patriots decided to part ways Daniel Fells and Jake Ballard on Friday, which is leading many to believe that Gronkowski will indeed be left of the PUP list to start the season. Although I’m still not sold that it’s a great idea to bring him back before week seven, these latest cuts are evidence that New England thinks that he’ll be ready sooner rather than later.
So if Gronkowski is indeed left on the 53-man roster, when does it become too soon to bring him back?
Clearly, the All-Pro tight end isn’t going to be ready for week one. He’s still going to be held out a few games to give his surgically repaired back a chance to strengthen itself, but given the latest circumstances, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the field by week four or five. You’d have to believe that’s a target area, because it wouldn’t be prudent to leave him off the PUP list and only gain one additional game.
It will be interesting to see the Patriots’ final decision, which will be known in about 24 hours.