Tom Brady will once again be without his favorite receiving target as Rob Gronkowski has been ruled out as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Philadelphia Eagles. ESPN’s Jordan Schultz broke the news a day before Gronkowski’s official injury designation was released.
“Sources: Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski is OUT for Thursday night’s game with the Eagles,” Schultz tweeted on October 12. “I’m told Gronk has made ‘steady progress’ since suffering cracked/broken ribs and a punctured lung Week 3 — but isn’t quite there yet.”
The Buccaneers later made the news official announcing that Gronkowski, safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and linebacker Lavonte David would all miss the Week 6 Thursday Night Football matchup.
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Arians Described Gronk as Being ‘Very, Very Close’ to Returning
Gronkowski has been sidelined with cracked ribs and a punctured lungs he sustained against the Rams in Week 3 and will now have missed three straight games with the injuries. During his Week 6 press conference, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians described Gronkowski as “very, very close” to returning.
“It will be very, very close this week,” Arians noted on October 11. “We will wait and see.”
Gronk: ‘I Miss Being out There With My Boys’
Gronkowski discussed his injury during an interview with CBS Sports after the Bucs’ win over the Patriots. The star tight end is still locked in to cheering on his teammates during games.
“I was jumping up and down, I was screaming,” Gronkowski noted on October 6. “My jitters were up and down, and I was cheering for the Bucs left and right. I’m proud of my teammates, especially going back home there, where the atmosphere seemed unbelievable … The game was incredible. I think if you’re a football fan, that was awesome.”
Gronkowski admitted he is already missing being on the field with his teammates. The Buccaneers have relied more on O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate in Gronkowski’s absence.
“I’m feeling good,” Gronkowski added. “But I’m just going week by week — day by day — to get ready, whether it’s next week, the week after that, or the week after that. And let me tell you, I miss it. I miss being out there with the boys.”
Brady on Gronk: ‘Just a Real Privilege to Play With Him’
Prior to the injury, Gronkowski scored two touchdowns in each of the first two games of this season. Earlier this season, Brady explained why Gronkowski is one of the best tight ends of all-time.
“I know he’s got great hands, great instincts, awareness I think what people don’t realize. He is an elite blocker and what he does in terms of the red area, third down, blocking in the run game, you run behind him,” Brady noted in his September 19 press conference. “Every run’s available because you can run behind him. [He] catches the ball down the field, catches the ball short run after catch, incredible hands and that’s why he’s got one of those maroon jackets for one of the best hundred players in the history of the game and just a real privilege to play with him.”