Jan 14, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) is tackled by Denver Broncos free safety David Bruton (30) during the first half of the 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
The New England Patriots may be getting Gronkowski back this week against the Cincinnati Bengals, and after the team just released rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld, the likelihood of him playing looks to be at an all-time high.
That’s bad news for the Bengals, who are dealing with an onslaught of injuries on the defensive front, and if Gronkowski plays anywhere close to the All-Pro level he’s played at over the past three seasons, it’s going to take a heck of an effort by defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to hold the Patriots offense down while the enigmatic offense looks to find some rhythm and consistency against one of the league’s best defenses.
In 2011, his last healthy season, Gronkowski became the first tight end to lead the league in receiving touchdowns, and broke the receiving yards record by a tight end in a single-season with 1,327 yards.