JIM DAVIS/GLOBE STAFF
According to a tweet from ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is not expected to play in the season opener against the Buffalo Bills on September 8. Schefter tweeted the following earlier this afternoon.
It is “not realistic” to expect Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski to be ready to play regular-season opener at Buffalo, per source.
It has been a wild offseason for the 24-year-old as he has undergone four surgeries on his left forearm, as well as back surgery. As a result, he has not played in any of the team’s preseason games, and rookie Zach Sudfield has had to carry a portion of the load at the tight end position in the interim, playing in both of the team’s preseason games and catching three passes for 54 yards and a touchdown.
Gronkowski, a two-time Pro Bowler, put the NFL on notice in 2011, catching 18 touchdowns and in the process setting a new league record for tight ends. He has had a solid career thus far, catching 187 passes for 2,663 yards and 38 touchdowns in three seasons of work.
Now, it appears he will have to start the season on the bench and wait until Week 2 to try and uphold his status as one of the premiere tight ends in the National Football League.