According to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the 32-year-old tight is likely to suit up this Sunday after X-rays came out negative regarding his injured ribs.
Gronkowski exited Week 3’s matchup against the Los Angeles Rams in the second half after taking a hit from linebacker Terrell Lewis. After heading to the blue medical tent on the sidelines, the former All-Pro tight end then exited to the locker room for X-rays — which was confirmed as negative for fractures.
Although most of the attention will be centered upon Tom Brady’s return to New England, Gronkowski will also play his first game in Gillette Stadium as a member of the opposition. Gronkowski played nine years for the Patriots before retiring at the conclusion of the 2018 season.
During his tenure there, Gronkowski established himself as the best tight end in the league, notching four First-Team All-Pro selections and five Pro Bowl nods. He also won four Super Bowls and made six Super Bowl appearances.
Considering Brady’s connection with Gronkowski — the veteran tight end leads the team with four touchdowns and ranks third in targets and receptions — having his most reliable option over the middle of the field will be imperative as the former Patriots teammates look to win in their return to Foxboro.
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Buccaneers Dinged up After Loss to Rams
While the Buccaneers will likely have Gronkowski back, there is uncertainty surrounding other key players.
Running back Giovani Bernard came up big in the team’s matchup against the Rams on Sunday, leading the team in receptions (nine) while posting Tampa Bay’s only receiving touchdown on the day.
However, he’s dealing with a MCL sprain that may limit him throughout the week. Bernard suffered the injury during his goal-line collision against the Rams and is considered “day-to-day.”
His status for Week 4 is to be determined.
Bernard suffered the MCL sprain on this touchdown towards the end of the game.
If Bernard is out, that would drastically change the personnel options considering the veteran running back is the team’s best receiving weapon out of the backfield.
Bernard had a team-leading 10 targets on Sunday as the Buccaneers played from behind during the entire game. Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones combined for just three targets on the day.
According to Bruce Arians, the Bucs would lean on Fournette this Sunday if Bernard is out.
In addition to Bernard’s injury, the Buccaneers left Sunday’s game with a knee injury to cornerback Jamel Dean — who is already filling in for the injured Sean Murphy-Bunting (elbow). Arians had no update regarding Dean’s injury as of Monday, September 27.
Arians Downplays Game Versus Patriots
Arians is saying all of the right things heading into the Buccaneers’ much-anticipated matchup against the Patriots.
Despite the clear disparity in the talent and play of both teams, Week 4’s matchup will be one of the most highly-hyped regular season matchups in NFL history due to Brady vs. Bill Belichick.
While all of the hoopla will center around the two figures that build arguably the greatest dynasty in NFL history, Arians says it’ll be just “another game” — except for Brady and Gronkowski, of course.
It’ll also mark Antonio Brown’s first game against the Patriots since his one-game stint in New England during the 2019 season. A recent study conducted on Twitter revealed that Brown is the most hated player in Massachusetts.
Regardless of whether or not the game is competitive, there definitely won’t be a shortage of headlines entering Sunday night’s matchup.