It’s finally here. The return of Tom Brady to New England as the Buccaneers take on the Patriots. However, the other return was not meant to be.
We learned on Saturday that tight end Rob Gronkowski did not make the trip to Foxboro as his rib injuries were far worse than initially believed. According to NFL insider Jay Glazer, Gronk has four cracked ribs, one broken rib, and a punctured lung so his absence may very well extend past this week;
. @RobGronkowski tells me he actually has “four cracked ribs, one broken rib and a punctured lung” which is about the only thing that would have kept him out of this game! So much more damage than was out there. @NFLonFOX— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) October 3, 2021
The Bucs are also without running back Giovani Bernard, cornerback Jamel Dean, and linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul. Newly acquired Richard Sherman will start for the Bucs tonight.
As for the Patriots, they will be without running back James White tonight and the rest of the season following a hip injury suffered in week three.
Here are the inactive players for the Buccaneers and Patriots ahead of their prime time matchup;
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
TE - Rob Gronkowski
RB - Giovani Bernard
LB - Jason Pierre-Paul
QB - Kyle Trask
WR - Jaelon Darden
OL - Nick Leverett
OT - Trent Brown
RB - Rhamondre Stevenson
CB - Joejuan Williams
LB - Ja’Whaun Bentley
CB - Shaun Wade
OLB - Ronnie Perkins
Ke’Shawn Vaughn will be active in the absence of Bernard while Joe Tryon-Shoyinka will get plenty of playing time in JPP’s absence. This also means cornerback Carlton Davis is active after being listed as “questionable” on Friday’s injury report.
The Buccaneers and Patriots kick off on Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC. Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, and Michelle Tafoya will be on the call.