Rob Gronkowski return provides immediate shot in the arm for Patriots

Rob Gronkowski return provides immediate shot in the arm for Patriots

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Jets have been drafting with Rob Gronkowski in mind for years now, it seems.

This past spring they took safety Jamal Adams in the first round and safety Marcus Maye in the second, prompting analysts everywhere to assume they would play key roles in Operation Halt Party Boy. Last year the Jets took hybrid linebacker Darron Lee in the first round, looking for a player with some size to run with the biggest mismatch in the league. 

All three were on the field Sunday for Gronkowski's return to the lineup. None of them could stop him consistently. 


After missing New England's Week 5 win in Tampa Bay as a late scratch with a thigh injury, Gronkowski re-joined the Patriots offensive huddle at MetLife Stadium and provided an immediate shot on the arm. He finished the day with six catches for 83 yards and two scores to help the Patriots win, 24-17. 

"It went smooth," Gronkowski said after. "Everything didn't go as well as you thought it would. Every play didn't go as well as you wanted it to, but what's most important is coming out with the win. And every time you come out to New York, it's always going to be a dog fight. Those guys played hard."

They did. And they won their share of battles with Gronkowski -- Lee in particular. 

He was all over Gronkowski early in the game, helping force an incompletion and a Patriots punt. Before the end of the half, Lee was there again to force an incompletion with Gronkowski down near the goal line. 

But Gronkowski plucked a 25-yard reception off the top of the 6-foot-1 linebacker's helmet for a first down during New England's first touchdown drive, and both of Gronkowski's touchdowns came with Adams in coverage. His two-yarder was a quick-hitter that seemed uncoverable with Adams playing off of Gronkowski's inside shoulder. Gronkowski's 33-yarder in the third quarter came out of a stack formation that slowed down Adams early in the down and created some space between the tight end and the safety.

It was Gronkowski's 15th career game with multiple receiving touchdowns, tying the franchise record set by Randy Moss. 

"Just gave them up," Adams said. "Got picked on one. The one in the red zone, Brady put it on real quick. He delayed, then got it out real quick. Lost my leverage."

For a team that went 1-for-3 in the red zone against the Bucs without him, having Gronkowski to help turn drives into touchdowns made an immediate impact.


Former Patriots RB Danny Woodhead announces retirement

Former Patriots RB Danny Woodhead announces retirement

Former Patriots running back Danny Woodhead has announced his retirement after 10 years in the NFL.

The 33-year-old took to Instagram to make it official.

10 years! Wow, God had crazy plans for a small little kid from North Platte, NE! It’s been a wild ride and feel so blessed He allowed me to do what I loved for so long. But now it’s time to say goodbye to the game I love. First, I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Without Him my career wouldn’t have been possible. He blessed me with the gifts and He paved the way. All I had to do was follow His plans for my life, and His plans were crazy awesome! Next, I want to thank my wife who has been by my side since freshman year of high school. She has been a rock through all the ups and downs. Sis, Willy, Mae Mae, and Hopie your daddy is going to be home a ton more and I can’t wait! Thanks to my Dad and Mom for always supporting me and showing me that God is first, then everything else will fall into place. Ben, Joel, and Anna thanks for preparing me for the NFL in our backyard games growing up. The dreaded in-laws Steve and Suzie for always being there for me. Chris Gittings (agent) you’re the best and thankful your my brother/uncle! Thank you Jets, Patriots, Chargers, and Ravens! Thanks to all my head coaches (Bob Zohner, Brad Smith, Bill O’Boyle, Eric Mangini, Rex Ryan, Bill Belichick, Mike McCoy, and John Harbaugh) who believed in me! To my rbs coaches (coach skiles, coach reiners, Jimmy Raye, A Lynn, Ivan, Ollie, Ridge, and Thomas) thanks for putting up with me. Thanks to all my teammates from high school till now. Without you guys I never would’ve become who I was as a player. To all my olinemen, you guys deserve the credit for anything that I received credit for. I thank you for helping make my career. To all the trainers, team docs, strength coaches, chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, body gurus thanks for making sure I was on the field. To all the people who made my life easier at the facility (ops, pr, equipment staff, cafe workers, custodians) thanks and your work doesn’t go unnoticed. And how could i forget all my fans?! You’re the best and have always felt the love and support! I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few but know that I’m thankful for everything everyone has done on my journey.

A post shared by Danny Woodhead (@teamwoody39) on

Thursday, it was reported the Patriots reached out to Woodhead for a possible reunion. 

The last two seasons have been challenging for him, as he dealt with season-ending injuries in both 2016 with the Chargers and 2017 with the Ravens.

Woodhead finishes his career with 2,238 yards rushing, 2,698 yards receiving, 15 rushing touchdowns and 17 receiving touchdowns.


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: C's win despite injuries, Pats make additions

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: C's win despite injuries, Pats make additions

1:20 - Despite throwing a depleted roster out there, the Celtics were able to get back in the win column vs. the Magic. Michael Holley and Tommy Heinsohn break down the win.

6:17 - Finally, the Patriots have done something! On Friday night it was reported that New England signed defensive end Adrian Clayborn as well as running back Jeremy Hill. Tom Curran, Alex Giaimo and Ben Volin discuss the impact these additions will have on the team.

11:05 - While the Celtics were able to pull out the win on Friday, the team did announce that Marcus Smart is expected to miss six to eight weeks after undergoing thumb surgery. A. Sherrod Blakely expresses his optimism on Smart’s return for the playoffs.