The New England Patriots have officially ended All Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski’s season by placing him on the injured reserve. Gronkowski suffered a chest injury in week 10 against the Seahawks, and then a back injury against the Jets. He underwent surgery this past Thursday.
Gronkowski played in eight games in 2016 with six starts and caught 25 receptions for 540 yards with three touchdowns. Gronkowski only played four full games since he barely played in his first two games with back-up quarterback Jacoby Brissett and he left early against the Seahawks and the Jets. In those four full games, Gronkowski combined for 21 receptions, 473 yards, and 3 touchdowns.
In a corresponding move, the Patriots have promoted rookie running back D.J. Foster from the practice squad. Foster was a recent release to make space for defensive tackle Darius Kilgo.
While the Patriots are thin at tight end, with just Martellus Bennett (bad ankle) and Matt Lengel on the depth chart, the Patriots were able to compensate for some of the injuries by including two-running back sets. Foster joins a strong depth chart with Dion Lewis, James White, and even Brandon Bolden, and Foster knows the playbook better than any street free agent tight end would be able to learn on a short week.
Best of luck to Gronkowski in his recovery.