Rob Gronkowski spent nearly two weeks in the NFL’s concussion protocol ever since the Patriots booked yet another trip to the Super Bowl. On Thursday, he was officially given the green light to play in his first Super Bowl since 2015.
Bill Belichick confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that Gronkowski was limited in practice, but he remains in the concussion protocol, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Spagnuolo, whose defensive acumen helped him become Rams head coach from 2009-11, didn’t become dumb overnight. He believes New York’s decline stemmed largely from a problem that can cripple even the best of units.
“We hit the injury bug,” Spagnuolo told co-host Bill Polian and me recently on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “The most compelling thing to me was having to play five (middle) linebackers throughout the season.
“Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to sit back for a year. That may happen, it may not. There’s a slight chance of maybe working in 2018 still. But, if not, I’ll use this time wisely.”
Spagnuolo then cited one of his coaching mentors and former boss with the Giants.
“I know Tom Coughlin has done it twice in his career and bounced back,” Spagnuolo said. “Sometimes, I think you can learn more from sitting back and looking at the big picture, and then when you get back into it, things make a little bit more sense. You’re just a little bit more well-rounded.”
Brady started talking more with Kraft and Belichick this fall about wanting to play into his 40s, being the team’s franchise quarterback for years to come. Kraft was willing to accept that idea. But committing to Tom Brady indefinitely created a problem for the Patriots because Garoppolo, who Belichick viewed as Brady’s replacement, was scheduled to be a free agent after the 2017 season.