Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots is a staple to the team’s offense. When he is not on the field, the passing game suffers immensely, as there is no replacement for a 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end. His sheer size and speed set him apart from nearly every other player on the field, regardless of the opponent. The eagerness for Gronkowski to start playing at full force once again is present in both fans and Gronk himself, but the waiting game has continued into preseason action, leaving many wondering if and when the big man out of Arizona will make his first in-game appearance.
On Sunday, Gronkowski said he has not yet been cleared for contact but is set to practice this week. At this point, one would assume that he will not be participating in this Friday’s preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, narrowing the gap between now and the beginning of the regular season. Gronkowski not being cleared for contact is not necessarily concerning, but this does leave many feeling impatient, as Gronk declared this past June that he would be ready for Week 1 of the regular season.
The hope is that Gronkowski will be able to play in at least one preseason game before the regular season begins, but with less than a month to go, time is running out. Of course the top priority is keeping Gronkowski healthy, and assuming there have been no setbacks in his recovery, the Patriots’ doctors and coaches are simply being cautious — something I can appreciate. I would love to see Gronkowski get into a game before Sept. 7, but if having him on the field come playoffs means keeping him off the field for now, I can deal with that.