Patriots

New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski hurting in victory because of thigh injury

New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski hurting in victory because of thigh injury

ATLANTA -- Rob Gronkowski had the last locker before the showers in the Patriots dressing room. The game had ended an hour before but Gronk still had his jersey and shoulder pads on. 

His pants? Not on. He was in his underwear and he kept pressing on his thigh. 

“Look at this,” he said. 

I looked at the side of his thigh where he was poking. It looked stupidly big. Swollen from just above the knee for about 20 inches. 

“Touch it,” he encouraged. 

I touched. Yep, swollen.

The misshapen thigh was caused by second-quarter hit on which Gronk was sandwiched and upended. He limped to the sideline and the limp got worse when he got into the bench area.  He didn’t miss any plays which -- given the way the thing looked now -- was kind of amazing. 

 “Is that the worst you’ve ever had?” I asked him, figuring it probably was because the expression on his face was somewhere between mortified and amused. 

“No, it’s about the same as other ones,” he said. “But I can barely walk!” 

“What will it look like tomorrow?” I asked. 

“It will be red . . . black and blue,” he said. “But at least I don’t have to worry about it now.”

Doesn’t have to worry about it now because there are no more games this year. With this vicious thigh shot, as opposed to the two he took against Miami and the one he took against the Vikings, he won’t be rehabbing in hopes of being able to practice on Wednesday or Thursday and then play next Sunday. 

This time, he can just let it heal without the pressure and the urgency all the while knowing more and different pain is in store for him. 

That blown-up thigh is an example of what Gronk was talking about Wednesday when he said to me, “Try and imagine getting hit all the time and trying to be where you want to be every day in life. It's tough, it's difficult. To take hits to the thigh, take hits to your head. Abusing your body isn't what your brain wants. When your body is abused, it can bring down your mood. You've got to be able to deal with that, too, throughout the season.

“No one realizes that, and everyone expects us players to be wide awake every single day, and it's like 'Yo, I just took 50 collisions, and then like the next day everyone wants you to be up'. They want practice full speed, next week they want the game to be full speed, but they don't understand sometimes what players are going through with their bodies, with their minds.”

When I got to Gronk he was already talked out. 

I asked him if he’d announced what he planned to do.

“I’m going to the party,” he said.

“I mean after that, if you’re retiring,” I clarified. 

“Oh no, that’s not for tonight,” he said. “This is about the team. I’ll wait a couple of weeks then make my decision.” 

Another reporter asked Gronk what he planned to do tomorrow when he realized there was no football to prepare for. 

“Well, I gotta get on the team plane home . . . ” he said. 

After that?

“I’m super excited just to chill,” he said. “We need it. We need it. We definitely need it.” 

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Patriots add kicker, two other new players to practice squad

Patriots add kicker, two other new players to practice squad

The NFL's roster merry-go-round never stops, and the Patriots kept busy on the transaction wire Wednesday by signing three players to their practice squad: DE Eric Lee, DB Adarius Pickett, and K Josh Gable.

Gable's addition is the most out-of-the-box, as Phil Perry explained earlier Wednesday afternoon.

The 28-year-old never played college football, but made a name for himself with compilations of trick shot videos on YouTube. Gable most recently played for the Tucson Sugar Skulls of the Indoor Football League, where he went 6-for-16 on field goals and 50-for-57 on extra points.

The Patriots had brought him in for a workout earlier this season, but ultimately signed Mike Nugent, who only lasted four games.

As for Lee, this marks his second stint in Foxboro. New England signed the 25-year-old late in the 2017 season, and he racked up 2.5 sacks, four quarterback hits, and an interception in his first two games.

He played in Super Bowl LII against the Eagles, but didn't survive roster cuts for the 2018 season. He bounced on and off the Lions active roster and practice squad over the last two seasons.

Pickett, the final practice squad addition, is an undrafted rookie out of UCLA who spent some time with the Bears and Chargers earlier this year.

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Ex-Patriots CB Asante Samuel tells hilarious story involving Bill Belichick and dominoes

Ex-Patriots CB Asante Samuel tells hilarious story involving Bill Belichick and dominoes

Asante Samuel spent the first five seasons of his NFL career in New England, where apparently he tested Bill Belichick's patience with his locker room antics.

The former Patriots cornerback took to Twitter on Tuesday to tell a funny story about how he gambled every day while with the Pats. Samuel claims he'd play dominoes after practice, much to the chagrin of Belichick, who apparently hated the game so much he stole a domino so no one could play anymore.

Cassel: How Belichick will handle 'Spygate 2.0' behind the scenes

Read Samuel's story below:

Sounds pretty on-brand for the longtime Patriots head coach.

Samuel was a key member of two Patriots Super Bowl teams (XXXVIII and XXXIX), so it doesn't seem his dominoes games were too much of a distraction. The four-time Pro Bowler tallied 22 interceptions during his tenure in New England, including a 10-INT season in 2006.

Pats injury report: Edelman misses practice, Brady limited>>>

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