The NFL’s regional combines serve as an opportunity for prospective players to show what they can do for NFL teams. But they also serve as an opportunity for players to get hurt, as two members of the Gronkowski family found out the hard way.
According to Albert Breer of NFL Network, free agent tight end Dan Gronkowski ruptured a pectoral muscle during the bench press on Saturday at the regional combine in Detroit and had to withdraw before finishing workouts for the scouts in attendance.
Dan’s injury comes three weeks after another member of the family, Chris Gronkowski, suffered a hamstring injury and couldn’t finish a regional combine in Miami. Chris referred to his hamstring injury as just “tweaking it a little bit.” Dan’s pectoral injury sounds more serious than that.
The regional combines are different from the annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, which is just for draft-eligible players. Regional combines attract free agents, many of whom already have NFL experience. Dan Gronkowski has played in 21 NFL games and Chris Gronkowski has played in 35 NFL games, but neither is currently under contract to an NFL team.
The best player of the Gronkowski brothers, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, is on schedule in his recovery from surgery to repair a torn ACL. The three NFL Gronkowskis also have an older brother who is a former minor league baseball player and a younger brother who is a fullback at Kansas State.