The Patriots are getting closer to making a decision on tight end Rob Gronkowski’s roster status for the start of the regular season and a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN adds to the intrigue about that choice.
Schefter quotes a source saying that it is “not realistic” to expect Gronkowski, who is recovering from surgeries on his back and forearm, to play against the Bills in Week One. There’s no word on what his status would be for the following weeks, but he’d have to be considered questionable at best if he’s not healthy enough to join the team on the field against Buffalo.
The Patriots will have to decide whether Gronkowski will remain on the 53-man roster or if they will leave him on the physically unable to perform list into the regular season. Doing so would mean Gronkowski misses at least the first six weeks of practice and games, but it would free up a roster spot for the Patriots to use on a player who is healthy enough to contribute right away.
There’s almost two full weeks for the Patriots to make that decision so there’s time for Gronkowski to show enough improvement that the call about the PUP list becomes a moot one. Right now, though, it has to be considered a realistic possibility in New England, perhaps even more realistic than his chances of playing all 16 games this season.