Gronkowski to miss opener against Cardinals

The Sports Xchange

September 09, 2016 at 10:06 pm.

Rob Gronkowski will be out in Week 1 versus Arizona. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

Rob Gronkowski will be out in Week 1 versus Arizona. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

The New England Patriots announced that star tight end Rob Gronkowski will miss the team’s season opener in Arizona against the Cardinals on Sunday night because of a hamstring injury.


Gronkowski, who did not play in any preseason games, has been a limited participant in practice since a joint training camp practice with the Chicago Bears on Aug. 15.

“It boils to a coaching decision, the medical team, and myself,” Gronkowski said.

The Patriots will also be without quarterback Tom Brady, who is serving a four-game suspension. The news is a big blow for Jimmy Garoppolo, starting his first career game in place of the suspended Brady.

Gronkowski, 27, has more receiving yards (5,555) and receiving touchdowns (65) than any other tight end since 2010.

“No, I’m not (100 percent),” said Gronkowski, who has missed 15 games due to injury in his career. “Since that one time during practices vs. the Bears (Aug. 15), I’ve just been week to week with a little hammy thing. So it’s just been week to week, day by day, but I’m feeling good.”

Tight end Martellus Bennett, acquired in the offseason from the Bears, is next in line, although he did not play in either of the Patriots’ final two preseason games. Clay Harbor is listed as the No. 3 tight end for the Patriots, and AJ Derby could also see playing time at the position.

Also missing the game for New England will be offensive linemen Jonathan Cooper, who the Patriots acquired from the Cardinals for defensive end Chandler Jones this offseason, and Nate Solder.