Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is inactive for today's game against the Atlanta Falcons, despite cautiously optimistic reports that Gronk was ready to return to the field. So what's the hold up? According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, it's Gronkowski's father that's pushing to keep his son off the field.
#Pats believe Rob Gronkowski wants to play, but his dad is keeping him off the field as a precaution after he injured himself in playoffs— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 29, 2013
#Gronk has looked good in practice, Patriots think he's ready. Gronk has also told teammates he may even wait until Week 6 to play (yikes)— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 29, 2013
It's never good when an athlete's family member inserts himself into the player-team dynamic, although we wonder about how much sway papa Gronk actually has in this situation. If this report was leaked by the Patriots (and it looks like it was), it could be a way to publicly pressure Gronk into returning to the field. Either way, this doesn't really reflect well on the Patriots.
Let's hope that the Gronks and Patriots management can get together for a few cold ones this week, and put all this silliness behind them.