As Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski prepares for a fourth surgery on his forearm and a probable back surgery, we’ve been reminded of the concerns that caused Gronkowski, a potential first-round pick in the 2010 draft, to slide to round two.
While a stellar performance in 2011 blew the red flags away, Gronkowski has had multiple injuries during his time in the NFL. His career fairly can be characterized as being at a crossroads.
Plenty of league insiders and observers aren’t surprised. In 2010, several teams had him off the draft board due to his health. He had missed three games in 2008, and all of the 2009 season after injuring his back while lifting weights. As late as February 2010, he wasn’t able to run.
Even after the 2009 surgery, Gronkowski had a significant bulging disc in two different areas of his back. As a result, many believed he would have chronic back issues, and that his NFL career would be short.
After three seasons, it’s unclear when Gronkowski will be ready for his fourth. And given the injuries he has sustained during those three years, it’s hard not to wonder how many more he has left.
While it makes him look even smarter for signing a long-term contract when he did, the Pats may never have to decide whether to fork over a $10 million option bonus in 2016, because he has to make it through three more seasons before that question even becomes pertinent.