The New England Patriots are notorious for remaining mum on the injury status of many of their players. Offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer is the latest starter to be subjected to this, as he has not participated in training camp for the past three days. The longer the Patriots organization, and specifically coach Bill Belichick, remain tight-lipped on his status, the more fans and media begin to speculate. With the regular season closing in and no knowledge of Vollmer’s situation, as well as Rob Gronkowski’s, this leaves all the room in the world for speculation, and these actions can often end with frustration for all parties.
There are some people, particularly fans, that believe they have the right to know the injury status of a player. Most teams in the NFL and other professional leagues oblige to this, releasing injury information almost immediately when it first becomes available. In the case of the Patriots, it often takes weeks to know a player’s injury, but whether or not the listed injury is actually accurate is a different story entirely.
Former New England cornerback Aqib Talib suggested this last year when he claimed the Patriots falsify their injury reports to mislead opponents and media. Talib was listed on several weekly injury reports during his final season with the Patriots, all of which reported a hip injury, though Talib claimed it was actually an injury to his quad.
Brandon Spikes seconded this, saying via ESPN.com, “Apparently, misreporting injuries is a regular thing in New England. That’s just how things go there.”
As a fan myself, I can agree that it is frustrating at times not knowing the status of various players. Vollmer will likely be fine and ready for Week 1, but the same cannot be said of Gronkowski. It is, however, public knowledge the severity of Gronkowski’s initial injury. At this point, it’s not a matter of if he will be ready for the regular season, but when. Fans spend the money to go to these games and want to see stars like Gronkowski play, but as a professional and a logical human being, it is unrealistic to expect any of this information, or to think we are entitled to it.