Yes, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has declared that he has gotten the green light to play on Sunday from his doctors, after a torn ACL derailed his 2013 season. The bigger question could be whether he got the green light from his head coach to disclose that he got the green light from his doctors.
When it comes to injury information, the Patriots notoriously disclose none of it. Or, when it comes to Tom Brady’s chronic right shoulder problem, deliberate misinformation. Last year, for example, Gronkowski was routinely listed as questionable as he continued to recover from multiple arm surgeries, hinting at a 50-50 chance he’d play even though, in hindsight, it was clear he wasn’t going to suit up early in the season.
This year, instead of keeping the Week One opponent guessing about whether he’ll play, Gronkowski has revealed on his own that he’ll play. He either did so without the blessing of the boss, or as part of a deliberate plan to make the Dolphins think they’ll see more of Gronk than they actually will.
If it’s the former, Gronk could still be chafing from the questions that swirled last year regarding whether he was milking the arm injury, able to practice but unwilling to play. Or maybe he’s feeling a heightened sense of urgency to play now that Tim Wright has arrived. If it’s the latter, it’s hardly out of character.
Regardless, it’s unusual for anyone from the team to be quite so forthcoming when it comes to injuries. And it’s hard not to wonder whether, given Belichick’s Naval Academy upbringing and penchant for strategic gamesmanship, the Dolphins won’t see Gronkowski very much, and possibly not at all.