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Rob Gronkowski and 10 NFL Stars Who Have Torn ACLs in 2013

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Rob Gronkowski and 10 NFL Stars That Have Gone Down With ACL Tears in 2013

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

There always seems to be an 'injury of the year' in the NFL. Despite all the talk about concussions, and there's been a ton of it, ACL injuries have ruled in 2013. In total (as of week 15), 40 players have now gone down with tears to the anterior cruciate ligament.

Rob Gronkowski is the latest big name player to go down, and go down he did in week 14. Gronk was chopped at the knees by T.J. Ward, which not only tore is ACL and MCL, it also gave him a concussion because of the force in which he hit the ground. It's this hit that's now started talk of a 'hitting zone' in the NFL, which would actually be similar to the strike zone in MLB - slightly above the knees to the shoulders.

I think it's feasible that the NFL could adapt a hitting zone in the near future. But at the same time, I don't see how it would work. If a player is running away towards the end zone, is the defender not allowed to dive at his feet to try and make a touchdown-saving tackle? It's a complicated issue, but one that you can bet will be discussed a lot over the next few months.

Is it better for a player to get chopped at the knees or hit in the head? That's the big question right now.

As for those that have been chopped at the knees, there have been plenty of them to go down with torn ACLs this season. Here are 10 star players that have suffered the infamous injury in 2013:

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Sam Bradford

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USA Today Sports

Bradford suffered a torn ACL back in October and once he went down, it was clear the Rams had little chance of making the postseason.

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Tyrann Mathieu

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USA Today Sports

It's a shame, but Mathieu also went down in week 14 with a torn ACL. The rookie DB was having a strong rookie season and we can only hope he stays on track during his return and makes it back to start 2014.

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Reggie Wayne

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USA Today Sports

The Colts have been outscored 24-114 in the first half of games since Wayne went down with a torn ACL back in week 7.

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Dustin Keller

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USA Today Sports

Keller's season ended before it even began this season because of an ACL tear.

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Brian Hoyer

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USA Today Sports

Hoyer's career as an NFL QB was on the rise until he went down with an ACL tear.

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Bryan Bulaga

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USA Today Sports

The anchor of the Packers' o-line went down in the preseason and there's no doubt the team has suffered because of it.

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Jeremy Maclin

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USA Today Sports

Who knows where the Eagles would be at right now if they had a healthy Jeremy Maclin?

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Henry Melton

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USA Today Sports

The Bears' defense has been awful in 2013 and Melton's absence is a big reason why.

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Melvin Ingram

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USA Today Sports

The former first round pick is just now returning from his torn ACL in May.

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Maurkice Pouncey

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USA Today Sports

The Steelers' o-line was already hurting when Pouncey went down with a torn ACL in week one. As you can see, it's been a tough year for Pittsburgh.