BOSTON (CBS) — Rob Gronkowski lost his mind for a moment on Sunday, and it could end up costing him some time this season.
Gronkowski, who spent much of Sunday’s 23-3 Patriots win in Buffalo getting held or shoved by the Bills secondary, was frustrated by a lack of calls and took it out on Tre’Davious White after the rookie corner picked off a Tom Brady pass in the third quarter. White held and pushed off Gronkowski on the play but wasn’t flagged, causing Gronk’s frustration to boil over. As the corner was on the ground following the interception, and well after the play was whistled dead, Gronkowski threw himself into the defenseless player in a move that looked more like something out of professional wrestling than the NFL.
White’s head hit the ground and he’s now in the league’s concussion protocol. Gronk was hit with an unnecessary roughness penalty but was not ejected, and apologized after the game. Bill Belichick wasn’t very pleased, and made sure to apologize to the Bills following the victory.
Now Gronkowski and the team await word from the league on a potential suspension or a hefty fine. Former Patriots tight end Christian Fauria joined Dan Roche on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final on Sunday night to discuss the momentary lapse by Gronk, and said the play looks worse and worse the more you watch it. Fauria wouldn’t be surprised is the league suspends Gronkowski, sending a message in the process.
“The more I look at it, the worst it gets. The visual [of White being helped off the field by trainers], that alone will cause some of the people in the NFL who put down those fines and suspensions to take it a little more seriously,” said Fauria. “How [White] recovers will play a major role in this. What if he loses time, loses money, or causes him damage he can’t overcome? He didn’t do anything; his back was turned. There needs to be a punishment for that.”
Given White was defenseless and had no way of seeing Gronkowski coming, Fauria said the Bills could angle this as assault if they wanted to take it to the extreme. He added that these are the kinds of plays that Belichick highlights in team meetings, selfish acts that hurt the ultimate goal of the team.
“These are the plays we usually watched from other teams. ‘What an idiot, he just gave up 15 yards and allowed the other team to continue a possession and score points.’ That one little selfish moment — because in the end, that’s what it is,” said Fauria. “One person taking out his issues with one person despite what is best for the team.”
The Patriots host the Bills in Week 16, and Fauria believes the Bills will try to retaliate if Gronk is on the field.
“I would be amazed if there wasn’t [any retaliation]. I would,” said Fauria. “If I consider that a dirty play — White’s a rookie who has been playing well. You could end his career. There needs to be some sort of justice. Frontier justice; call it whatever you want. I wouldn’t try to end his career, but I would try my damnedest to let him know he had to pay for it. That’s what I would do, and that’s what I would expect from them. But we’ll see.”
Watch the full discussion in the video clip above, and tune in to Sports Final and Sports Final OT every Sunday night at 11:35 p.m. on WBZ-TV!