The New England Patriots are down another key offensive weapon again.
The Patriots downgraded tight end Rob Gronkowski to out Sunday morning ahead of the team’s Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
Gronkowski didn’t travel with the team to Chicago and will miss his first game of the 2018. While the tight end has been battling a nagging ankle injury, it’s his back that will keep him out of Sunday’s contest, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
“This actually stemmed from Friday’s practice,” Rapoport said Sunday morning on NFL Network. “I’m told Gronk’s back locked up on him, and he was simply not able to go. And at that point the Patriots knew it was unlikely he would play.”
Gronkowski’s back ailment isn’t a long-term injury, according to Rapoport, and NFL Media’s Stacey Dales added the All-Pro wasn’t feeling well enough to sit on the team plane to Chicago on Saturday. New England was leaving open the possibility of Gronk taking a private jet to Chicago on Sunday morning if he woke up feeling better, but it appears that’s not the case.
With Gronkowski out, Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister will assume tight end duties for the Patriots.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images