New England tight end continues to struggle to overcome multiple injuries.
The New England Patriots have confirmed star tight end Rob Gronkowski will miss at least the side’s first game of the NFL season when they face the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Gronkowski was racing the clock to be fit for the game having had multiple surgeries in the off-season on his left forearm and his back.
Despite returning to full-pad practices earlier this week, Gronkowski was limited in his movement with the Pats deciding not to risk him in week one.
With Gronk out of the side New England will enter the first game of the season with just two tight ends in the form of four-year veteran Michael Hoomanawanui and rookie Zach Sudfeld.
That likely means the team won’t run a majority of its plays out of multiple tight end packages, instead relying on three-receiver groupings, or tapping fullback James Develin in two-back sets.
In addition to Gronkowski, the Patriots also declared rookie receiver Aaron Dobson (hamstring), running back Brandon Bolden (knee), offensive lineman Will Svitek (knee), and safeties Nate Ebner (ankle) and Duron Harmon (hamstring) to out for Sunday’s game.
In part to account for Bolden’s absence in a reserve role, the Patriots also re-signed veteran running back Leon Washington on Saturday, while promoting rookie guard Josh Kline to the active roster.