Rob Gronkowski's return being held back by father?


The questions about whether tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Danny Amendola would play Sunday have been answered a day early.

Neither player traveled with the New England Patriots to Atlanta to face the Falcons on Sunday night, NFL Media's Albert Breer reported Saturday, per sources. The Patriots later officially downgraded Gronkowksi and Amendola to out.

ESPN first reported the news.

Gronkowski was limited in practice all week while he rehabs back and forearm surgeries. There reportedly has been some contention between Gronk's camp and the Pats over his return date.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported on NFL Network's "NFL GameDay Morning" that the Patriots believe Gronkowski has looked good in practice and wants to play in game action. Rapoport went on to say the Patriots also believe that Gronk's father has been vocal in keeping the tight end off the field, due to the fact that the tight end re-injured himself after coming back to play in the 2012 playoffs. Meanwhile, Gronk has told some friends that he might not return until Week 6.

As for Amendola, his groin was torn off the bone, Breer reported earlier this week, which means the wide receiver couldn't exacerbate the injury by practicing, but he's not ready to return to game action.

The injury watch for both players will extend into at least Week 5 when the Patriots play the Cincinnati Bengals. Breer reports that Gronk is expected back at some point during the Bengals-Saints-Jets portion of the Pats' schedule, which runs from Week 5 to Week 7.

Tom Brady will go into Atlanta relying on receiver Julian Edelman and rookies Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson, both of whom have had up-and-down starts to the season.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" previewed every Week 4 game. Click here to listen and subscribe.