Rob Gronkowski was absent on the Patriots’ trip to Chicago last weekend, but it doesn’t sound like he expects to miss their voyage to Buffalo.
The Buffalo-area native’s comments Saturday point to a return for the Patriots’ Week 8 tilt against the Bills. Gronk said (via the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels, on Twitter) he expects to travel to Buffalo and play in the game.
Ankle and back injuries kept Gronkowski in New England while the Patriots beat the Bears, but Gronk got in limited practices Thursday and Friday. He’ll likely be given a questionable designation, and given his importance to the Patriots’ big picture, it wouldn’t be a shock if the four-time All-Pro were held out. But Gronkowski said (via Daniels, on Twitter) he feels good going into Monday night.
It will be tough for Gronkowski to trigger his incentive package if he misses much more time. For Gronk to achieve the $3.3MM in incentives, he’ll need to hit three of the following thresholds — 70 catches, 1,085 receiving yards, nine touchdowns and 80 percent playing time. He’s a bit behind the required pace thus far, carrying a 26-reception, 405-yard, one-touchdown stat line through six games. He also has $1MM tied to per-game roster bonuses.
While the Patriots put up 38 points on an upper-echelon Bears defense without Gronk, their offense is obviously much better when the future Hall of Fame tight end is on the field.
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