When healthy, Rob Gronkowski is the best tight end in football. In fact, when healthy, Rob Gronkowski might be the best tight end in NFL history.
Key words being “when healthy.” Gronkowski is 27. In many ways, he’s in the prime of his career. But he’s been injured far too frequently in his seven-year career. He played in just seven games in 2013 and has been limited to eight thus far in 2016.
“Gronk’s on his way out (of New England),” Bart Scott said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Because of injuries, and they don’t stick with you when they see you slipping. When you have a big man that starts having back problems – he’s only in his seventh year, and he has two years remaining. And guess what? They already brought in his replacement and they can get him for cheaper.”
Scott, of course, was referring to Martellus Bennett, who, at 29, is actually two years older than Gronkowski.
“Don’t matter,” Scott said. “Less wear and tear on the body. Listen, we had some great players in basketball. When did you know it was over with Larry Bird? When he would go to the sideline and put that hot pack on his back.”
Indeed, Gronkowski, who punctured his lung against Seattle in Week 10, exited Sunday’s game against the Jets with a first-quarter back injury.
“We talk about knee injuries, back injuries, elbow brace forever,” Scott said, trailing off. “Listen, man, you think Bill Belichick going to stick with you? Negative. He’s not in the foxhole with you.”
Gronkowski had 10+ touchdowns in five of his first six NFL seasons and 1,100+ receiving yards in three of his previous five. This year, Gronkowski has 25 catches for 540 yards and three touchdowns.
The Patriots (9-2) host the Rams (4-7) this Sunday. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.