We talk about this often with football players getting hurt and that’s a part of the game. That’s the risk of our game when you put those pads on and put your body on the line for 60 minutes each and every Sunday. One hit can change a man’s life and a certain injury can force a player into retirement earlier than expected. That hasn’t been the case at all with Rob Gronkowski. Just like every football player has, he’s experienced injuries. The ankle in 2011 that kept him very limited in the Super Bowl against the Giants, the broken arm in 2012 and then tearing his ACL in 2013. Since all that, he’s been good with staying on the football field. This year, he took a nasty hit from Earl Thomas which resulted in a punctured lung and last week against the Jets, he was taken out of the game with a back injury and the reports after said it wasn’t that bad and he would be able to play. Today, the news was released that the star will have back surgery tomorrow and there’s no timetable for his return.
I’ve given the breakdown on Gronk so many times and we’ve seen what he can do on the field when he’s 100 percent healthy. He’s such a force and if you ask anybody who the best tight end is in the game today, nine times out of ten people will say it’s number 87 and rightfully so. Since coming into the league in 2010, he’s become one of the top offensive players in the league that’s not a quarterback. The way he moves for a man his size is something I’ve never seen. He’s 265 pounds and has tremendous speed. He’s as complete of a tight end as you’ll see because he’s also a fantastic run blocker but he does his best work when he’s catching the football. There’s a reason why he’s been Tom Brady’s go-to guy for all these years. The chemistry they have with one another still amazes me to this day and Brady won’t get you the football if he doesn’t trust you, but that hasn’t been the problem with Gronk. These two have connected for 69 touchdowns in seven seasons. It doesn’t matter how he’s used on the field, he makes catches and makes plays with the football and he’s at his best when he’s lined up wide on the outside with a corner trying to defend him.
This is a huge loss for the Patriots because he’s their best player and you see what they’ve done without him. They average close to 32.5 points per game with him on the field. Without him, close to 17 and as the playoffs approach, you always want your best guys on the field. I really enjoy watching him play and we could be watching a guy who could single-handedly become one of the best ever to play the position of tight end. Knowing how the Patriots work, the next man must step up and now, that next man is Martellus Bennett.