Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com
The Jets were taken to task last week by Heath Miller, so could a tight end get the best of the Jets this week again? The Jets are staring in the crosshairs of one of the league’s main storylines this season, the absence of Rob Gronkowski from the Patriots offense.
Injuries are going to be a major theme heading into Sunday’s matchup between the Jets and Pats. While the Jets are dealing with offensive injuries, so are the Pats. Pats tight end Gronkowski is awaiting clearance on his surgically repaired forearm and receiver Danny Amendola is likely to be sidelined against the Jets again after a hard hit last Sunday in the Saints game.
So with Gronk practicing every week, but not yet cleared for a game … will this be the week that the Jets get a fired up Gronk?
On Monday the someone from the normally mum Patriots talked out of school about a growing “resentment” around the Pro Bowl tight end and his continued absence from games.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski’s continued absence from the New England Patriots’ lineup has escalated tension among teammates who have begun questioning him about why he’s not playing and left some wondering if he intends to play at all this season, according to multiple sources.
“There’s curiosity and resentment, and he’s creating it by going out and kicking ass during the week and then he doesn’t show up on game day and help the team win,” one source said.
You know things are getting serious when Gronk’s mom is getting involved.
Diane Gronkowski said that people and unnamed sources who are casting stones just don’t know the whole story.
“All I can say is Robbie is dying to play. He wants to get out there,” she said. “He’s doing what he has to do to get back playing. He doesn’t like it. He wants to play. It really bothers him that he’s not playing.”
The Boston Globe knows takes a sensible middle of the road stance, saying that Gronk is being cautious because there’s a lot of money riding on his long-term health.
A league source insisted that the reported rift between Gronk and the team is overblown, and that the Patriots are understanding of Gronkowski’s precaution; they want him to be productive for several more years. But the Patriots feel he is as ready to play as he’ll be this season, and they have put the decision to return squarely in Gronk’s hands.
The author, Ben Volin, suggests that Gronk’s unwillingness to play comes not from Dr. James Andrews, but rather his father Gordy, who might be suggesting he heal up as much as possible
The Gronkowskis have seen their son rush back from an ankle injury to play in the Super Bowl, and rush back from the broken forearm last season only to re-break it two games later. Who could blame them for wanting to keep him off the field a little longer this time?
And let’s not kid ourselves, there is a lot of money at stake here.
Gronkowski signed a contract extension in 2012 worth a maximum of $55 million, but he needs to stay healthy all the way through the 2015 season to receive most of it — which, after the medical scares of the last 12 months, looks like a daunting task.
It’s clear that Gronkowski is being prudent in his return to the game, but that return come this week? Whoever faces off against Gronk first, will likely be entering a very dangerous zone…