As Patriots turn the page to Dolphins, Gronkowski Hammy Watch returns

As Patriots turn the page to Dolphins, Gronkowski Hammy Watch returns

It’s amazing what a hooked field goal attempt can do for the tenor of conversation.

Instead of spending the past two days beating up Bill Belichick for his timeout strategy or wondering why the Patriots didn’t do something – ANYTHING – to stop Larry Fitzgerald (all the while ignoring that it was Larry Friggin’ Fitzgerald), the region’s been basking in the afterglow of Diamond Jimmy’s Wondrous Debut.

But Wednesday in the NFL is page-flipping day and, as we get on to Miami, Hammy Watch returns.

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Rob Gronkowski, as you may have noticed, missed the opener. He didn’t even make the Friday plane to Arizona because of a tender hamstring, meaning that the kind of injury that’s often day-to-day and still had 48 hours to be treated and tested was balky enough to not even make the attempt.

Gronk came up lame during joint practices with the Chicago Bears on August 15. The 30-day anniversary of the injury is Wednesday.

Seems long.

And it logically follows that Gronk’s statement from last December that he wouldn’t return to play until he was “100 percent” must still be in effect.

It’s absolutely fair to wonder what the hell the deal is. Unless the injury was severe – and given Gronk walked off the field that day rather than going down like a wounded Patrick Pass - it sure didn’t seem like something that was going to keep him down for a month and cause him to miss regular season games. But it’s already cost him one.

Gronk is pretty well insulated when it comes to taking heat for his annual physical maladies.

He came into the league with a bad back that’s already been operated on at least once while he’s been a pro. And that surgery, which came in June of 2013, was performed after he snapped his arm, had a plate inserted, snapped it again, came down with a vicious infection that required a hospital stay and more surgeries.

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After a prolonged absence heading into 2013 when Gronk was practiced like a fiend but sat on Sundays, he got his knee destroyed by T.J. Ward on a low hit.

He’s had two careers worth of operations and he’s only 27.

All these guys are their own little corporations but Gronk Inc. is a Fortune 500 outfit and – because of his injury history and the fact his immediate family and representatives know maximizing profit means avoiding unnecessary risk – it’s very likely he’s been told to take care of the physical plant at all costs.

Which means not playing unless he’s 100 percent.

But a month with a hamstring when you got rookie Malcolm Mitchell back in less time from an injury that looked like this when it happened?

Like I said, seems long. Hammy Watch returns today. 

Report: Patriots special teams ace Slater visiting Steelers

Report: Patriots special teams ace Slater visiting Steelers

Patriots seven-time Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater is in Pittsburgh on Saturday making a free-agent visit to the rival Steelers, according to an ESPN's Field Yates.

Slater, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. The special teams captain and one of the leaders in the locker room signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.

The Patriots lost special teamer Johnson Bademosi to the Texans in free agency on Friday but signed special teamers Brandon Bolden and Brandon King just before the free agency period began.

More to come...

Brady tests his 'Brady Bunch' knowledge on NPR

Brady tests his 'Brady Bunch' knowledge on NPR

Tom Brady has been making the media rounds lately with "Good Morning America" and "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" appearances this past week to promote his "Tom vs. Time" series and TB12 Method book. On Saturday, Brady was a phone-in guest on NPR's "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me" for their "Not My Job" segment. 

Before a mostly cheering live audience in Hartford and after a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks - mostly drawbacks - of tomatoes and strawberries, plus an assessment of the intelligence of most defensive coordinators, Brady settled in to handle three questions about the world's second-most famous Bradys, the family from the classic sitcom - "The Brady Bunch".

Click here to listen and see how he did.