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Rob Gronkowski ruled out for Patriots vs. Bears

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As anticipated, Rob Gronkowski won't play for the New England Patriots on Sunday.

The prolific tight end has been downgraded to out ahead of New England's matchup with the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Gronkowski didn't make the trip to Chicago after popping up on the injury report Friday with a back injury after being limited in practice all week because of an ankle issue. After initially being designated as questionable for the game, the Patriots downgraded him to doubtful on Saturday.

The injury, however, isn't considered long term, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

Gronkowski has not missed a game all season. Through six games, he has recorded 26 receptions on 35 targets for 405 yards and one score. Dwayne Allen should see the bulk of snaps at tight end with Jacob Hollister also out because of a hamstring injury.

The loss of Gronkowski likely won't make life easier on New England's receiving corps. Gronkowski might be in the midst of a touchdown drought, but he's always a double-team magnet in coverage. For a Chicago secondary eager for redemption after getting lit up by Brock Osweiler last week, the Patriots could have a challenging afternoon ahead of them.

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