Waiting for Gronkowski is not a tired act. At least that’s what Tom Brady says as he waits for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to return from multiple arm surgeries, infection and back surgery.
Each week, it seems, there are reports that Gronk is eversoclose to playing and then, when game day rolls around, he’s inactive. “There’s curiosity and resentment, and he’s creating it by going out and kicking [butt] during the week and then he doesn’t show up on game day and help the team win,” a team source told ESPN’s Ed Werder.
Brady disputed that, though.
“I don’t think there’s any resentment toward Rob or any other player on our team that is fighting through rehabilitation to get back on the field,” Brady said in a Westwood One interview Monday.
“Look, everyone loves having Rob out on the field, but we also understand that these medical decisions are out of the hands of the players and coaches. And if the doctors, when they clear them, they clear them, and when they don’t, they don’t. That goes for every player in the NFL. It’s not just our team, it’s every team.”
Brady could desperately use a receiver with whom he has some on-the-job experience and Gronk’s mother told the Boston Herald her son, who practiced with the team last week, is eager to play.
“The same people who criticize him for not coming back are the same people who say he came back too soon last time,” she said. “It is what it is. Rob is the only one who can make this decision. Anybody else who has a comment to make positively or negatively aren’t Rob. They aren’t in his shoes. They didn’t go through the surgeries that he went through.
“When they go through four arm surgeries, a back surgery, and a foot surgery in a year and a half, then they can make the comments. After the third (forearm) surgery, Robbie said, ‘I’m never doing this again.’ And weeks later, he’s back in for the fourth one. So he doesn’t want to go back where he was and start all over again. It wasn’t fun. It was so discouraging.”
Patriots President Jonathan Kraft told 98.5 The Sports Hub on Sunday that there was no controversy within the locker room. “Not from the level with anybody named Kraft,” he said (via ESPN). And I’m not aware of it from anybody from anywhere else. I have to believe that Rob’s going to know when he wants to play. . . . No one here questions Rob’s desire about his passion or want to play the game of football.”