Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski not expected to be at Super Bowl opening night
The NFL is set to kick off media festivities in the week leading up to Super Bowl LII, beginning with Super Bowl Opening night. According to Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network, New England Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski isn’t expected to be available to speak with the media as he continues to go through the concussion protocol.
At this point, #Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is not expected to participate in Super Bowl Opening Night, I’m told. He’s still in the concussion protocol. That could change if doctors clear him.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 29, 2018
Although things could change on this front, the Patriots will be proactive in keeping him away from the added media attention given his health status. While Gronk is expected to play on Sunday, the Patriots are yet to make a formal announcement as continues to recover from the concussion he suffered in the first half of the AFC Championship game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Patriots don’t want Gronkowski’s place in the concussion protocol to be a distraction. He has yet to speak to the media since entering the AFC Championship, as the team has been quite secretive with the entire ordeal.
Gronkowski was able to participate in practice on Saturday in a limited fashion, which is a step forward toward him being able to get cleared in time for the Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles. His status will have a huge impact on the Patriots’ offensive game plan for the contest, as he’s been Tom Brady’s favorite target in the passing game.
The 28-year-old has built strong chemistry with Brady over the years, as the two have connected for 75 career touchdowns, which is the second-most from a quarterback to a tight end in NFL history. He has also experienced success in the playoffs, as his 10 postseason receiving touchdowns are tied for third all-time behind only Jerry Rice’s 22 and John Stallworth’s 12.
Gronkowski is also the first player at his position to compile 856 receiving yards in his postseason career, and he is tied for third all-time with three career 100-yard receiving performances.