Rob Gronkowski, the tight end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is in worse shape than expected. Due to a rib injury, Gronkowski was ruled out of his homecoming game against the New England Patriots on Saturday, October 2. Even worse, the extent and severity of his injuries were not revealed until later. Gronkowski’s injuries include four cracked ribs, one broken rib, and a punctured lung, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer on Sunday, October 3.
The severity of Gronkowski’s injuries has changed dramatically in the last few days. According to ESPN’s Jenna Laine, Gronkowski was considered a game-time decision as recently as Friday, October 1. On Saturday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Gronkowski could be out for “multiple weeks.” Despite the injury, the Buccaneers have yet to place Gronkowski on injured reserve.
The veteran tight end has resurfaced as one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets through three games this season. With four touchdown receptions, the 32-year-old tight end leads the Buccaneers in targets (20), trailing only receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin (25).
The Buccaneers will see if Gronkowski’s injury improves enough after Week 4 to keep him on the active roster. While all eyes will be on Brady and Bill Belichick as they face off on the field for the first time since the former’s departure from New England, one notable event will take place: Brady will become the all-time leader in passing yards. Brady is 68 yards away from passing Drew Brees as the leader in this category heading into Week 4 against the New England Patriots. To top it off, Brady will be playing against the team with whom he spent the first 20 years of his career. So, how do the Patriots intend to commemorate this historic occasion?
According to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a one-minute tribute video to Brady will be shown on the video stadium board at Gillette Stadium before the game. “Right before the Buccaneers come out, you look at the big board, and for one minute, we’re going to run something that I think is very respectful and worthy,” Kraft said on ESPN’s “NFL Countdown” on Sunday. The tribute won’t end there.
When Brady finally breaks the record, the game will be paused to honor his achievement. “If he breaks the record — which, in some ways, I hope he doesn’t, but realistically, he will — the game will come to a halt, and we will honor that moment out of respect for him as a great athlete,” Kraft said.