The New England Patriots received some good news on Wednesday in regards to the health of star tight end Rob Gronkowski. Head coach Bill Belichick announced that Gronkowski will not be placed on PUP list after recovering from ACL surgery in January. The news will more than likely mean Gronkowski should be ready by Week 1.
The news also comes just before training camp begins which will give Gronk time to get into game shape and be fully available for the offense ran by quarterback Tom Brady. Gronkowski has previously stated that he hopes to play a full season this year and was aiming for being on the field when the team takes on the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. He has also said his progression and ability to practice was up to the doctors and trainers.
The doctors gave the green light Wednesday. Belichick told reporters, “He’s been cleared to play. Rob’s always worked hard.” It is not the work ethic of Gronkowski, but the concerns of his health that has the team and fans constantly crossing their fingers because a healthy Gronkowski changes the dynamics of the offense.
The Patriots averaged 32 points per game when Gronkowski played and just 24.6 points per game when he was not on the field. It wasn’t just points that showed the effects of life without Gronkowski. Brady didn’t have that reliable big target in the red zone, which catapulted the team’s struggles last season, especially with the departure of receiver Wes Welker.
Although being cleared to practice does not guarantee Gronk will be ready come Week 1, it is huge because he’ll get to work with the first team offense and his presence should have a positive effect on some of the younger tight ends who are trying to make the roster.