Rob Gronkowski’s injury status has been reportedly updated for a third time since Wednesday. However, this update appears to be final.
NFL Network’s Courtney Fallon is reporting that Gronkowski will not play in the Patriots’ Sunday Night Football opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
— Courtney Fallon (@CourtneyFallon_) September 9, 2016
Earlier today, NESN’s Doug Kyed reported that he had been moved to questionable after he was listed as limited in practice on Wednesday. The Providence Journal reported the Gronkowski was not on the plane to Arizona with the team today.
With Tom Brady serving his four-game suspension the Patriots will begin the season without their two best players. Jimmy Garoppolo will be getting his first start at quarterback, and their big free agent signing, Martellus Bennett, should get plenty of looks in Gronkowski’s absence.
They need to secure every win possible early in a far more competitive AFC East than usual, and being down their best offensive weapon to a team that had the second-best record in the NFL last season is not a good start.
The Patriots will need all of the Bill Belichick genius, and probably a healthy dose of LeGarrette Blount, in order to find success against a Cardinals defense that has been one of the strongest in the league for the past two seasons.