Rob Gronkowski overreacted in the heat of the moment. And it’s going to cost him both on the field and in his pocketbook.
The NFL suspended the New England Patriots tight end without pay for one game after his hit on Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White in Sunday’s 23-3 win. The incident took place in the fourth quarter after the rookie out of LSU intercepted a pass intended for Gronkowski.
NFL Suspends Rob Gronkowski for Hit on Tre’Davious White
With White prone on the ground due to the acrobatic nature of the pick, Gronkowski proceeded to drive his back and head into the turf. It forced White to miss the remainder of the game, with the Bills evaluating him afterwards for a concussion.
Gronkowski received an unnecessary roughness personal foul for the hit but officials didn’t eject him from the game. In fact, Buffalo ended up getting an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty enforced on the next play after defensive end Jerry Hughes berated one of the referees.
In post-game comments, Gronkowski apologized for what transpired, citing frustration at not getting a pass interference call on the play. But White’s teammates still weren’t happy about the nature of the incident.
“I was very surprised he wasn’t ejected,” safety Micah Hyde told reporters after the game. “I felt like just seeing it on the replay and just seeing him, Tre’Davious was on the ground, and (Gronkowski) eyed him, he looked right at him. I don’t know if it was a shoulder or elbow, I’m not sure what it was, but that was dirty.”
New England’s week 14 game takes place next Monday when they go on the road to face the Miami Dolphins. Minus Gronkowski, the Pats will be looking to make it nine wins in a row while moving to 4-0 against interdivisional opposition in 2017.
What It Means
With head injuries and the NFL’s response to them continually in the crosshairs, this was a necessary move on the part of the NFL. Though Gronkowski doesn’t have a track record of dirty play, the nature of this incident precluded the league from going lenient on him. It certainly takes away Tom Brady‘s favorite weapon in the pass game during a crucial stretch where New England is trying to seal the top seed in the AFC. But the NFL needs to continue matching lip service with action when it comes to addressing concussions. That’s especially true when they occur as a result of dirty play, of which Gronkowski’s cheap shot of White certainly qualifies.