Tom Brady will be without his trusty sidekick for Sunday's homecoming game at Gillette Stadium.
Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski is out for Tampa Bay's Week 4 matchup with the Patriots due to a rib injury and won't make the trip to New England, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Saturday.
Still, many figured the veteran tight end wouldn't miss the opportunity to play against his former team for the first time since retiring from the Patriots following the 2018 season.
Gronkowski smashed all sorts of records during his nine seasons in New England and likely would have gotten a very warm reception from the Gillette Stadium crowd despite his acrimonious departure and decision to come out of retirement to join Brady in Tampa Bay last offseason.
Gronkowski's absence is a significant blow for a Tampa Bay offense that is already down running back Giovani Bernard. The Bucs still are heavy favorites, but Brady's task of defeating Bill Belichick will be a little more difficult without his longtime tight end.