Foxborough, MA, United States (4E Sports) – New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski tore his right ACL and MCL after his knee took a direct hit from Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward last Sunday.
Gronkowski was hit in the third quarter of their 27-26 victory after hauling in a pass from Tom Brady. The two-time Pro Bowler fell to the ground, clearly in pain.
Ward said he targeted Gronkowski low due to fear of being fined by the NFL.
“It was a decision I made just to make a tackle on a big man, and unfortunately he got hurt,” Ward said. “But if I would’ve hit up high, there’s a chance I would get fined and all that other stuff. I’m just being safe.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick is pessimistic about Gronkowski’s injury.
“Rob’s going to have some more tests today, but that situation doesn’t look too good,” he said.
The 24-year-old Gronkowski missed the first six games this season while recovering from offseason back and forearm surgeries.
In the six games he played, he caught 37 passes for 560 yards and four touchdowns as the Patriots scored the second most points in the league. Without Gronkowski, they were 22nd best in scoring offense in the league.
The Patriots have two other tight ends on the roster, veterans Matthew Mulligan and Michael Hoomanawanui. Fullback James Develin has also taken snaps at tight end on an as-needed basis.