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Tom Brady on hit on Rob Gronkowski: Not dirty

Already down a few playmakers, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady saw his star tight end go down with an ugly knee injury in the fourth quarter. Without Rob Gronkowski, the steadfast quarterback still led his team on a thrilling one-minute game-tying drive.

So it was no surprise that, following the 30-24 overtime loss, Brady didn't make excuses in addressing the loss and Gronk's injury.

"I hate to see it, but it's really the only way for defenders to hit now," Brady told reporters after the game. "I bet you if you asked probably a lot of the players, they'd probably rather you go high than low. But when you go low, that's what happens.

"I don't think it's dirty, I just think that's the way football is being played now."

While NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Gronk suffered a minor knee strain and should miss a week at most, New England cannot afford to lose many more offensive playmakers, with Julian Edelman, Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola already sidelined.

"We'll keep fighting. I know that," Brady continued. "It's tough to win. And certainly, when you lose good players, it hurts."

The Patriots quarterback will sorely miss Gronk, who missed significant time in 2013 with ACL and MCL injuries. The tight end is New England's leading receiver in yards and touchdowns.

"He's the best tight end in football, so it's so hard to see these guys get hurt like this," Brady added. "Obviously I have a lot of respect for players who play this game because you risk a lot to play. And I think a lot of times that gets overlooked. You sacrifice a lot, and I think guys sacrificed their bodies and it's hard to see your friends get taken out like that."

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