Monday, November 30, 2015

The Little Franchise Which Cried "There's No Wolf Over Here!"

The Patriots never discuss injuries. Until they want to.

Officially, mum's the word on the status of Rob Gronkowski's knee today. Unofficially, anonymous Pats' personnel are leaking furiously to the national NFL reports who would tweet that Martians were sitting in Roger Goodell's office if some source told them that Gronkowski's injury is "not too serious." He may "miss one game, or maybe none."

I sure hope that's true. Gronk's my favorite Pat to watch. But I don't believe it, and won't until I see the tight end take the field during play. The New England organization lost whatever credibility I gave it on the topic of player health over a decade ago. In 2004, wide receiver Deion Branch got hurt in a September game in Arizona. The in-game team update stated Branch "had the wind knocked out of him."

Branch's next game came in Kansas City -- the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Fast forward to 2014. Linebacker Jamie Collins has an undisclosed "illness." He's now missed four games, a month of playing time. We can deduce Collins doesn't just have some bug that's going around. But what has laid him low? Mono? Rickets? Ebola? We don't know. We also don't know what purpose the Pats' secrecy serves except to fuel ever wilder speculation about the poor guy, who must really be sick.

So I also don't know if those Pats' sources are telling the truth about Gronk, or if they're just indulging in a group whistle-thon in a playoff graveyard. I DO know Pats' fans desperately want those leaks to be true, so in New England, they will be treated as a fact by just about everyone.

Don't let your team play you for a sap, fans. Be delighted when (and if) Gronk comes up to the line of scrimmage for the next time. Just don't spend the whole week expecting it.


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