Rob Gronkowski suffered concussion symptoms in the AFC Championship, but should be ready to go for Super Bowl 52. The Patriots have an extra week to prepare for the big game, giving Gronk time to recover.
Gronkowski took a hard hit from Jaguars safety Barry Church late in the second quarter, and took his time getting up. After the half, CBS reporter Tracy Wolfson reported that Gronk was saying “Wow” repeatedly as he tried to compose himself. Gronk went to the sidelines, and did not return for the second half.
He finished the day with one catch for 21 yards.
Without Gronkowski, it appeared that the Patriots offense would struggle. They trailed by two scores in the second half, but scored two touchdowns in the final quarter to rally a victory over the Jagaurs. The hero is Danny Amendola, who caught both second half touchdowns and finished with seven catches for 82 yards.
The Patriots will now head to Minnesota, looking to become the first NFL team to defend a Super Bowl title twice. It’s their third trip in four years.
Last season, Gronk slipped a disc in Week 10. He needed surgery to repair the herniated disc, and was placed on injured reserve. He’s been pretty banged up in his career, having also spent time on injured reserve with an ACL tear in 2013 and a broken forearm the year before. Gronk hasn’t had an issue with concussions in his career, but will need to be fully cleared before he steps onto the field in Minneapolis in two weeks.
In 2012, Gronkowski played with a sprained ankle in Super Bowl XLV against the Giants. He didn’t look healthy in the loss, finishing with just two catches for 26 yards.
As soon as Gronkowski took the hit, there was chatter on social media about the need for concussion protocol.
The Patriots did the right thing, taking Gronkowski to the locker room shortly before halftime. He was listed as questionable in the third quarter, and was ruled out for the game shortly thereafter.
The lack of concussion enforcement has been an issue this season, with Cam Newton the most recent player to show symptoms and not exit a game.