Patriots Blog: If Gronk Is Healthy, Let Him Play

By Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports

BOSTON (CBS) – So here we are, Week 3 of the NFL season is approaching, and there is finally word on Rob Gronkowski.

A report says there is a 50/50 chance the Patriots’ tight end will be out there and play on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium.

I will say this: if he’s close, get him out there.

READ: Levan Reid’s Patriots Blog

The Buccaneers are very close to becoming a team in disarray. Safety Dashon Goldston was suspended for one game on Monday for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Saints running back Darren Sproles. He’s appealing, but may not be out there for Sunday’s game. Tampa’s quarterback Josh Freeman doesn’t want to be there, and is one of the many players who isn’t happy with head coach Greg Schiano. Schiano is in his second year in the NFL after a successful run at Rutgers, and right now he’s looking a mutiny. The players don’t like his college coaching style and new corner Darrelle Revis isn’t happy with the way he’s being used.

All of that is good for the Patriots and Rob Gronkowski. Let Gronk get out there and get his feet wet after being sidelined since the playoffs last season. He’s still not at his original playing weight, but he needs to get hit and get a feel for where he is. This is the game to do it.

WATCH: Reid’s Minute Roundup

After Tampa, the Pats have a pair of road contests in Atlanta and Cincinnati. Both of are tough games against tough defenses, and the Patriots are going to need Gronk at full capacity when those games roll around.

Not to mention, Tom Brady really needs another reliable target. Patriots tight ends have just one catch through the first two games this season, and Brady’s only reliable receiver right now is  Julian Edelman.

If he’s healthy, let Gronk free this weekend against Tampa.

Follow Levan Reid on Twitter @LevanReid.

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