The Patriots signed another tight end on Tuesday, and maybe now we know why.
Rob Gronkowski was left on the active roster over the weekend, rather than leaving him on the PUP list until Week 6, and made his first appearance on the practice field with his teammates on Sunday, but it seems that progress doesn’t mean much for the regular season opener. Gronk is unlikely to play in the Patriots’ opener against the Bills on Sunday or against the New York Jets in Week 2, according to Pro Football Talk.
Gronk’s continued uncertainty forced the Patriots to get some extra help behind tight ends Michael Hoomanawanui and rookie Zach Sudfeld on the depth chart. That led the Patriots to sign veteran tight end Matthew Mulligan on Tuesday, filling the final spot on the team’s 53-man roster — at least for the time being.
It’s no wonder that Bill Belichick would hold off on playing his All-Pro tight end in Buffalo on Sunday, seeing as Gronkowski practiced for the first time all year just the other day. Holding Gronk out of Week 2 would make sense as well, considering that the Jets’ game is on Thursday night, just four days after the opener, and, after four offseason surgeries, another week of preparation would probably benefit him in hopes of getting back to 100 percent before making an official return.
Gronk may well be set for a return by the time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers make the trip to Gillette Stadium in Week 3, although the report notes it’s impossible to know when he will be ready.