Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury, did not accompany the Patriots on their trip to Arizona on Friday, reports Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal (Twitter link). That means Gronkowski will not play Sunday against the Cardinals, according to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com (via Twitter). Gronkowski’s absence will leave New England’s offense without its two best players (quarterback Tom Brady is suspended) as the Jimmy Garoppolo-led club goes on the road to face one of the NFL’s premier teams.
More from around the league as the first Sunday of the regular season draws closer:
- Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, 32, would like his playing career to last until at least age 40, he told Pete Dougherty of USA Today. “I think it’s more realistic now than it was when I first started playing,” the eight-year veteran said of achieving his goal. “The way the (practice) schedule is now, training camp, the research on nutrition. I think it is possible to play and play well into your 40s.” Only three QBs – Packers legend Brett Favre, Hall of Famer Warren Moon and Vinny Testaverde – have started at least 10 games in their 40s since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, notes Dougherty. Aside from Rodgers, fellow current signal-callers Brady and Drew Brees have also expressed a desire to last that long. As a 39-year-old (40 next August), Brady looks like a shoo-in to accomplish that goal.
- The Eagles’ Darren Sproles will act as more of a receiver than a running back this year, writes Paul Domowitch of Philly.com. Sproles led all running backs in receptions (232) from 2011-13 as a member of the Saints, but he wasn’t as involved in the Eagles’ passing game under now-former head coach Chip Kelly the previous two seasons. Sproles still caught 95 balls, including 55 last year, while combining for 140 carries. As a runner, he’s unlikely to approach last year’s 83-attempt mark in new head coach Doug Pederson‘s offense, per Domowitch, with Ryan Mathews and Kenjon Barner set to receive the bulk of the work. For his part, Sproles is content with taking on more of a pass-catching role. “They’re playing to my strengths,” he said. “I really like this offense.”
- Brian Fettner, the agent for the Bills‘ Seantrel Henderson, explained Friday why he and his client dropped their appeal of the right tackle’s four-game suspension for marijuana use. Fettner stated (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter): “Merciful or not, there is no medical exception that the NFL will accept. It doesn’t matter that Seantrel is battling Crohn’s disease, and has had his intestines outside his body. It doesn’t matter how you take it, if you digest the cannabis, that’s it. And they don’t care. So you can appeal and lose, and push it back, or you can get it over with. Per the negotiated letter of law, it seems like a futile appeal. We don’t want to waste anyone’s time. We want Seantrel back as soon as possible.”
Zach Links contributed to this post.