(UPI) -- Even though he wasn’t active for the New England Patriots’ victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, tight end Rob Gronkowski was awarded a black jersey indicating that he had a great week of practice in the days leading up to last Sunday’s showdown.
Gronkowski arrived in the locker room on Thursday wearing the black jersey, setting him apart from other Patriots players who were wearing white or navy blue jerseys. The problem for Gronkowski is that he has also been separated from his teammates, especially in the past few weeks, by his inability or lack of desire to step on the field on game days.
The All-Pro tight end has been practicing since Week 1, but he has yet to suit up for a game. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said Dr. James Andrews, Gronkowski’s supervising doctor, has not cleared the tight end to play yet.
It’s possible that the black jersey was just a Jedi mind trick being played by a man who is known for wearing cut-off hooded sweatshirts, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Gronkowski said on Thursday that when he does return, Belichick and the team’s medical staff will be part of the decision.
“It’s basically myself, the doctors and just talking with the coaches, especially coach Belichick to see how everything is going. We talk all the time on how everything is going. Me and him have been on the same page the whole time, ever since the beginning and the decision will be made eventually.”
“You have to be strong there, strong mentality," he added. "I believe that’s what I’ve got. When my number is called and when I’m ready to go, I’m going to be out there rolling like I have been before. So, I can’t wait and I’m excited whenever.”