For those without blinders on, this was very much expected. On Monday, the NFL handed down a one-game suspension to Patriots’ tight end, Rob Gronkowski, for his late hit on Bills’ defensive back, Tre’Davious White. The hit did not result in an ejection for Gronkowski, however, it did put White into concussion protocol. Gronkowski is reportedly planning on appealing the suspension which would occur Week 14 against the Dolphins.
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski has been suspended for Week 14 of the NFL season.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 4, 2017
It was an unfortunate series of events that led to the skirmish. With the game well in hand, Gronkowski let his frustration get the better of him. With White on the ground, Gronk delivered a WWE-like hit to the back of the Bills rookie. Yes, White was guilty of defensive pass interference on the play. With that said, it still doesn’t excuse Gronkowski’s momentary lapse of judgement.
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On a conference call on Monday, Belichick was asked about the play. Predictably, he nipped that line of questioning in the butt. “No, I think Rob addressed it. I don’t have anything else to add.” He was then asked whether or not he has any conversations with the league office in regards to the officiating of Gronk. Again, Belichick didn’t give much information, however, his answer makes it seem as though those conversations have happened.
“Well, no, I’m not going to talk about any of the personal calls I’ve had with league officials,” said Belichick. “Whether it’s Al [Riveron], or Dean [Blandino], or Mike [Pereira], or Carl [Johnson] or whoever it’s been through the years. I mean, Rob’s been in the league for seven years and Brady has been in the league a lot longer than that.”
In regards to the Patriots, it probably isn’t the worst thing to have Gronkowski sit a game late in the year. Especially considering the game is against the Dolphins and not the Pittsburgh Steelers the following week. Most Patriots fans would likely trade every regular season game with Gronk for three healthy postseason games. With the end of the year fastly approaching, an extra bye for the tight end will work in favor of the Patriots.
The suddenly relevant Dwayne Allen will likely see some more targets against the Dolphins. However, it’s the undrafted free agent, Jacob Hollister, who could see the most benefit from Gronkowski’s absence. With Martellus Bennett on injured reserve and Gronkowski set to miss Week 13, the Patriots will need an impact game from both tight ends. Especially in an always tough road game in Miami. James Develin will likely see more time as he is one of the best, if not THE best fullbacks in the league.
For what it’s worth, Gronkowski should skip the appeal and sit for a game. Rest up and prepare for what is likely the deciding game for the first overall seed in the AFC when they face the Steelers in 13 days.