Rob Gronkowski is reportedly expected to return for the New England Patriots against the New Orleans Saints this weekend. Pro Football Talk cited a league source on Tuesday morning who claims Gronkowski will be cleared this week and will suit up on Sunday.
Gronkowski had multiple surgeries on his broken forearm and another surgery on his back during the offseason. The Patriots opted to not place him on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, which would have ruled Gronk out for at least the first six weeks of the season. If for some reason he does not play against the Saints, the Patriots will have wasted a roster spot on him for their first six games.
New England has managed to put together a 4-1 record without Gronkowski this season, though he was sorely missed in a 13-6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. The Patriots were unable to move the chains at crucial times and failed to score a touchdown on 1st-and-goal from the Bengals’ 1-yard line in the fourth quarter. Gronkowski should certainly help remedy some of Tom Brady’s red zone issues.
At this point, we’ll believe Gronk is playing when we see it. There have been conflicting reports about his status all season long. If there was ever a time when they Patriots need him to return, it is this week. The Saints have been torching defenses this season and New England will likely have to score to keep up.