New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was banned from participating in his team's game against the Miami Dolphins after a cheap shot against Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White one week prior. Yesterday, Gronkowski's one-game suspension officially ended and the NFL's best tight end is eligible to return to the Patriots' active roster any time now.
Don't expect the move to be made anytime soon, however. According to the league's transaction wire, New England was granted a roster exemption for Gronkowski. Doing so is standard procedure for players coming off a suspension – the Patriots received exemptions last year when quarterback Tom Brady and defensive edge Rob Ninkovich returned from their respective suspensions.
As a result of the roster exemption, Gronkowski basically serves as a 54th member of New England's active roster until his activation on Saturday the latest. Until then, he can participate in team activities like practice but does not count against the roster limit. This, in turn, means that the Patriots do not have to release a player just yet – granting said player a full week of pay before the inevitable cut happens.
Edit: Per Bill Belichick himself, the Patriots received a 1-day exemption for Gronkowski, not a standard 1-week. He will be activated later today.