FOXBOROUGH – Tight end Rob Gronkowski has yet to receive the necessary medical clearance to play in a game for the Patriots, according to Drew Rosenhaus, Gronkowski’s agent.
Appearing on a Miami radio station Thursday morning, Rosenhaus said there is no tension between player and team over the longevity of Gronkowski’s absence and the uncertainty over his return, and wondered why it’s become such a big story.
“I don’t understand why this story has gotten so much traction. There are dozens of players around the NFL who aren’t playing because they are injured and coming back from surgery,” Rosenhaus said on WQAM-AM 560. “In Rob’s case, this is really straightforward. Up to this point he hasn’t been cleared to play in a game. He has not been cleared by Dr. [James] Andrews, who is the supervising doctor.”
Until that happens, Rosenhaus said, Gronkowski can’t come back, despite the tight end participating in every Patriots practice since the start of the regular season.
“There’s a huge difference between being cleared to practice and being cleared to play in a game,” Rosenhaus said. “I’ve had great dialogue with coach [Bill] Belichick and the Patriots’ medical staff, and Rob and his family. Everybody’s on the same page, except it’s gotten a lot of play in the media and all these unsubstantiated sources.”
The Gronkowski story has hung over the Patriots all season, with almost weekly reports coming from somewhere that the two-time Pro Bowler will be playing in that Sunday’s game. That’s yet to happen. Gronkowski was listed as doubtful for the first two games, and has been questionable for the last four.
Gronkowski had four surgical procedures on his forearm – which he initially broke last November, then broke again in the playoff opener – and another on his back during the offseason.
Some reports have said that teammates are starting to question why Gronkowski has not returned for games. Rosenhaus said the answer is simple.
“It’s really straightforward. When Rob is cleared, he’ll play,” Rosenhaus said. “It shouldn’t be a big surprise to people that the guy has a very cautious approach right now, because he had four operations on that forearm and he had a back operation.
“Quite frankly, it’s not a huge upset that up to this point he hasn’t been cleared to play in a game. We anticipated this. Hopefully he’ll be back soon, maybe even this weekend, but there’s no way to know until the end of the week when his doctors make that determination.”