Why Rob Gronkowski Believes Patriots Can’t Replace Julian Edelman

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The New England Patriots will have a big hole to fill this season, as receiver Julian Edelman was lost for the year when he tore his ACL during the team’s preseason game against the Detroit Lions.

And while the Pats are loaded on offense even without Edelman, one of the defending Super Bowl champion’s key pieces believes it’s impossible to replace one of the best receivers in franchise history.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski spoke with Esquire about the 2017 season, his health regimen, the Patriots’ visit to the White House and the injury to Edelman, lamenting the loss of a key part of the offense.

“He’s not a player you can replace,” Gronkowski told Esquire. “His work ethic is second to none, the way he plays the game of football is unbelievable. You just can’t replace him. Other guys, including myself, are going to have to step up and take some of his role on.”

Edelman caught 98 passes for 1,106 yards with three touchdowns in 2016, and made key grabs during the Patriots’ historic comeback in Super Bowl LI.

New England will need Gronkowski, along with Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan, to step up and fill the void left by one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

Oct 29, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates with wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) after his touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

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