Patriots

In wake of Gronk's hit, NFL has ammo to suspend

In wake of Gronk's hit, NFL has ammo to suspend

UPDATE: Rob Gronkowski was handed a one-game suspension by the NFL for his late hit on Buffalo's  Tre'Davious White.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.  -- Gronk was mean and Gronk was wrong and Gronk was dirty.

Leaping on a unsuspecting player that you outweigh by 80 pounds and driving your forearm into the base of his head/neck so that his helmet ricochets off the turf is a crappy thing to do.

Gronk has taken his share of abuse and injuries, but there’s no reason for rookie Tre White to pay for the sins of T.J. Ward and Bernard Pollard.

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Further, as a guy who’s had to come back from myriad injuries, Gronk knows what he did to White was crappy not just because of a possible suspension and fine, but because it injured a guy at least a little and possibly a lot. It was a dangerous thing to do.

It was plain on Gronkowski’s face in the postgame locker room that he knew he’d screwed up badly. The parade off the field where he waved and stuck his tongue out at fans who jeered him (two projectiles landed near him) was show.

How much “feeling bad” and apologizing will mitigate his punishment is up for debate. It probably won’t sway the NFL’s discipline czars as much as the over-the-top moralizing that always follows a Patriots-involved incident.

What should Gronk get? Well, the play was over and he knew it. The guy didn’t see him coming. He went to the head.

Factors in his “favor” would be the immediate apology, acknowledgment that what he did was rotten, no prior offenses that are similar (although he threw Sergio Brown “out da club” and got a fine a few years back) and the fact it was truly heat of the moment, though not between the whistles.

There have been myriad occasions of on-field mayhem this year that resulted in discipline.

Gronk’s hit on White reminds me most of the very ugly hit Danny Trevathan of the Bears applied to the Packers' Davante Adams. The play was virtually over, though Adams wasn’t on the ground, and Trevathan targeted Adams head and went helmet-to-helmet with jackhammer force. It was uglier than Gronk’s and Adams was more messed up. There was very little contrition from Trevathan. He wasn’t ejected. Neither was Gronk. Trevathan got two games and it was reduced to one.

The Bucs' Mike Evans was the third-man-in with a flying shove to the back of Saints corner Marshon Lattimore after Jameis Winston started a probem on the sidelines with Lattimore. Evans got a game. His was a premeditated hit from behind like Gronk’s but he wasn’t directly involved in the action.

In the end, the NFL has enough to justify either decision. But the court of public opinion -- which rarely returns a positive verdict for New England -- is agitated and calling for anything from four games to jail time. If the NFL is anything, it’s reactionary.

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Ex-Patriot Chris Long rips NFL's new National Anthem policy

Ex-Patriot Chris Long rips NFL's new National Anthem policy

On Wednesday, the NFL announced a new policy on players protesting during the National Anthem.

The new policy permits players to stay in the locker room while the anthem plays, but requires them to stand if they come on to the field.

Former Patriots defensive end Chris Long, now with the Eagles, shared his thoughts on the controversial change via Twitter:

His teammate, Malcolm Jenkins, ripped the new policy on Twitter as well.

Devin and Jason McCourty showed their support for Long and Jenkins' statements by reposting them on their Twitter account:

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Source: Tom Brady not at TB12 while teammates next door at OTAs

Source: Tom Brady not at TB12 while teammates next door at OTAs

A source confirms that Tom Brady was not working out at his TB12 sports medicine facility at Patriot Place in Foxboro while his teammates were on the field at OTAs as was previously reported by the Boston Herald.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski, the other notable absence from OTAs, has been at the TB12 facility on the days his teammates were on the field practicing and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who participated in the first day of OTAs, has also been at TB12, according to the source.

The Herald's Karen Guregian reported on Tuesday that both Brady and Gronkowski were at TB12 on Monday, which is right next to Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots were practicing. 

Former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak of 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Zolak and Bertrand" show said Brady likely wasn't even in the country this week.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Wednesday that Brady and Gronk are expected to participate in the mandatory mini-camp at Gillette June 5-7.

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