All the talk this week, obviously, has been about the return of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to Foxboro and leading the Buccaneers to face the Patriots. Now, only half of that legendary duo will be making the trip.
After being listed as “doubtful” on Friday’s injury report, Rob Gronkowski did not make the trip with the team to Massachusetts and will not play against the Patriots on Sunday night. With Brady on the cusp of breaking the all-time passing record, many speculated that the record breaking pass was going to be to number 87 - a connection all too familiar to those that will be in attendance.
Bummer alert: Rob Gronkowski and Jason Pierre-Paul will not make the trip to New England for the Bucs. No ‘homecoming’ for Gronk after all.— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) October 2, 2021
To add insult to injury - or add injury to insult - Jason Pierre-Paul also didn’t make the trip and will not be playing on Sunday. He was listed as “questionable” and head coach Bruce Arians said he would be a game time decision. JPP apparently told Arians that if he’s flying, he’s playing. Apparently that was enough for Arians to not risk it, leaving JPP in Tampa.
The list of injured players is piling up for the Bucs. Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, JPP, Gronk, and Giovanni Bernard will all miss Sunday night’s game. Richard Sherman will be available to play but Arians wouldn’t commit to how much - if any - playing time Sherman will get. Sherman is there “if they need him,” and with a cornerback group of Carlton Davis, Dee Delaney, Ross Cockrell, and Pierre Desir it’s safe to say they’ll probably need him,
So Bucs won’t have Dean or SMB at corner, might not have Carlton Davis. That leaves them Ross Cockrell, Dee Delaney, newly promoted Pierre Desir, elevated Rashard Robinson and newly signed Richard Sherman. Should be fun Sunday night.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 2, 2021
Carlton Davis is listed as “questionable” but is likely to play after being a full participant in practice all week.
According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Gronk has fractured ribs and could miss more than just this week. An initial x-ray was negative, but a recent CT scan showed the injury;
A CT scan this week revealed TE Rob Gronkowski has fractured ribs. He made some progress this week but not enough to play.— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) October 2, 2021
For all the optimists out there, you could say at least all these injuries are coming early in the year, giving them time to recover and return later and into the potential postseason run. The Bucs’ biggest obstacle heading into the season was the injury bug - something they avoided for the most part in 2020 - and so far it’s bit them rather frequently in 2021.