Jonathan Kraft says there’s no rift with Gronkowski


Amid mounting rumors and reports and speculation regarding the disconnect between tight end Rob Gronkowski’s ability to practice and inability to play, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said before Sunday’s game against the Saints that all is well between team and player.

Not from the level with anybody named Kraft,” Jonathan Kraft told 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston regarding whether there’s an issue with Gronkowski.  “I’m not aware of it with anybody anywhere else. . . .  Rob is going to know when he wants to play and Rob loves the game of football.  When Rob wants to play, when Rob can play, he’ll play.  No one here questions Rob’s desire about the game, about his passion for the game, and wanting to play the game of football.”

Kraft also explained that, while the Patriots didn’t hire Dr. James Andrews to provide input on the situation, Gronkowski has every right to consult with Andrews or any other doctor.

“As it relates to Dr. Andrews, he is not a Patriots team doctor,” Kraft said.  “He’s never worked for us.  He isn’t a part of our organization. . . .  We encourage players, if they want to with any medical issue, to get a second opinion.  I don’t know that Rob has hired Dr. Andrews.  I’ve read the reports. . . .  If Rob, or Rob’s agent, or his family has hired him, I guess he is advising Rob and he’s obviously a credible doctor who has experience with pro athletes.  If Rob has another doctor advising him, that’s fine too.  He should be totally comfortable getting medical advice outside of the club’s medical advice.”

Multiple recent reports have indicated that players are frustrated by the fact that Gronkowski is able to practice at a dominant level, but that he isn’t playing.  As best we can tell (and we have a bit of a bias here), that specific theory was first articulated by Tom Curran of CSN New England during a Friday visit to PFT Live.”As it relates to players in our locker room, I haven’t heard one thing from any player in our locker room about Rob. As I stand here, I know nothing about it,” Kraft said.  “I haven’t heard.”

It doesn’t mean it’s not happening.  And if it’s happening, it’s unfortunate.  Gronkowski rushed back to the field after his first forearm surgery last year, broke the arm in a different place, and then had multiple additional surgeries to clean out an infection.  It’s hard to blame him — or anyone in his family — for being extra careful about his health.