Gronkowski’s mother says he’s dying to play

AP

At a time when rumors abound that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski’s lingering absence comes from his father, Gronkowski’s mother has publicly come to her son’s defense.

“All I can say is Robbie is dying to play. He wants to get out there,” Diane Gronkowski told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald on Sunday.  “He’s doing what he has to do to get back playing. He doesn’t like it.  He wants to play.  It really bothers him that he’s not playing.”
She said that Gronkowski hasn’t returned primarily because the goal is to avoid another surgery on his forearm.

“The same people who criticize him for not coming back are the same people who say he came back too soon last time,” Diane Gronkowski said. “It is what it is. Rob is the only one who can make this decision. Anybody else who has a comment to make positively or negatively aren’t Rob. They aren’t in his shoes. They didn’t go through the surgeries that he went through.

“When they go through four arm surgeries, a back surgery, and a foot surgery in a year and a half, then they can make the comments. After the third [forearm] surgery, Robbie said, ‘I’m never doing this again.’ And weeks later, he’s back in for the fourth one. So he doesn’t want to go back where he was and start all over again. It wasn’t fun. It was so discouraging.”

The comments come at a time when some are reporting that players are growing resentful of Gronkowski, who has been practicing but isn’t playing.  The situation has sparked speculation that Gronkowski won’t play at all this year.

“Oh yeah, he’ll be back,” Diane Gronkowski said. “It’s hard for people to be patient.  It’s hard for him to be patient.  He wants to be out there.  That’s a definite.”
It’s still not clear what it will take to get Rob Gronkowski the green light to play.  His last forearm surgery happened months ago.  At some point, the arm will be as healthy as it’s ever going to be.
The real question is whether it, and everything else on Gronkowski’s body, will remain healthy once he returns.