The backlash of Rob Gronkowski's absence due to injury has begun. And it involves "multiple sources."
Ed Werder of ESPN has the scoop: Sources say that Gronk's teammates are wondering why he isn't playing in games if he can fully participate in practice.
"There's curiosity and resentment, and he's creating it by going out and kicking ass during the week and then he doesn't show up on game day and help the team win," one source said.
Teammates and coaches have seen him run patterns, catch passes, use his arm to pass protect, run block and to separate from defenders at the line of scrimmage, and they doubt a doctor would allow so much contact if there remained serious concern about the health of his forearm.
They are having difficulty reconciling seeing Gronkowski perform like that and then not take the field with them for the games.
"If he's not playing in games, he damn sure should not be doing what he is in practice," said the same source who mentioned resentment.
If this report's accurate, it's still not damning. Gronk broke his arm on the eighth offensive play of the playoff game against the Texans this January, only two months after initially snapping it against the Colts. Over the summer, he had three followup procedures due to an infection after the surgery. With all that cutting in under a year, there's logic behind Gronk being cautious with breaking his arm again. He may look like a big dumb golden retriever in human form, but he's not that dumb.
Maybe it's just hard to people to comprehend that every injury is different. Adrian Peterson and Wes Welker make shredding an ACL look so negligible, and now everyone's expected to bounce back at that pace. Look at Robert Griffin III's struggle for an example of what happens when the pressure to play works. People see "questionable" or "probable" and use that as metrics of a player's injury severity, because there are few other details besides (arm).
The masses—including Adam Schefter—are now putting Gronk in the same category as Sad Derrick Rose, who took a season to recover from a torn ACL. Neither of those players should be attacked for taking as long as they want to rehabilitate, even if the only thing left to recover is their mind. If they come back without fully feeling ready and ruin their career, everyone can drop the "shame to see that" and stop giving a shit about them. And which scenario ends up hurting the team more?
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