Rob Gronkowski will return to the New England Patriots' lineup this week. Or he won't. In other words, the status quo rolls on for the world's most famous inactive tight end.
On Thursday, Gronkowski's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, spoke at length about his client's somewhat mysterious recovery process.
"I don't understand why this story has gotten so much traction," Rosenhaus told 560 WQAM-AM (via The Boston Globe). "There are dozens of players around the NFL who aren't playing because they are injured and coming back from surgery. And in Rob's case, this is really straightforward. Up to this point, he hasn't been cleared to play in a game. He has not been cleared by Dr. (James) Andrews, who is the supervising doctor."
Gronkowski has been fully practicing with teammates, adding to the curiosity of why he hasn't returned to game action. There have been reports that Gronk's practice-no-play schedule has sparked resentment in the Patriots' locker room.
"There's a huge difference between being cleared to practice and being cleared to play in a game," Rosenhaus said. "I've had great dialogue with coach (Bill) Belichick and the Patriots' medical staff, and Rob and his family. Everybody's on the same page, except it's gotten a lot of play in the media and all these unsubstantiated sources."
Rosenhaus added: "All I can tell you it's really straightforward. When Rob is cleared, he'll play."
Gronk is coming off four surgeries on his arm and one back procedure. The fact that the player and team are taking it slow shouldn't come as a surprise.
But there's also enough smoke to tell us there could be a fire going on behind the scenes in Foxborough.