Rob Gronkowski exits game after helmet-to-helmet hit

Foxborough, MA  1/21/2018 Patriots Chris Hogan checks teammate Rob Gronkowski after being hit helmet to helmet by Jaguars Jalen Ramsey in the second quarter. The New England Patriots host the Jacksonville Jaguars in an NFL AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Jan. 21, 2018.(Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
Chris Hogan checks on teammate Rob Gronkowski after Gronkowski was hit helmet-to-helmet in the second quarter –Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was immediately escorted to the locker room after suffering a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jaguars safety Barry Church.

As New England mounted its second scoring drive of the game — with just under 90 seconds remaining in the first half — quarterback Tom Brady threw a pass intended for Gronkowski on first-and-10 from the Patriots’ 40-yard line. The pass was ruled incomplete, but Church’s helmet-to-helmet hit resulted in a 15-yard, unnecessary roughness penalty and a Patriots first down.

According to reporters at Gillette Stadium, Gronkowski looked “woozy” and “dazed” following the play. CBS sportscaster Tracy Wolfson reports both an independent neurologist and the team’s medical staff are treating the tight end in the locker room, as they determine whether he will enter the league’s concussion protocal. The Patriots initially ruled him “questionable” to return but downgraded him to out at the start of the fourth quarter.

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