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Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski won’t be making his homecoming to New England after all. According to Jordan Schultz of ESPN, Gronkowski is officially out for the Week 4 matchup against his former team.

Gronkowski returned to practice on Friday, but was listed as doubtful on the team’s final injury report. There was some optimism that he might be able to play through the rib injury he sustained against the Rams. But the tight end will not make the trip to New England with his teammates, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

His absence leaves just Tom Brady and Antonio Brown as ex-Patriots returning to Foxboro Sunday night. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick likes to take away what teams do best, for the Bucs that’s throwing the ball. The Bucs will miss Gronkowski this week with Godwin and Evans the likely “take-away” targets. Brown will have to step up in an expanded role for the team.

With Gronkowski out, that will thrust tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate into larger roles for the Bucs. Both tight ends are good receivers, but neither possess Gronkowski’s blocking prowess. With Giovani Bernard out as well, the Bucs could roll out more jumbo tight end sets with Josh Wells. Protecting Brady will be critical against a team that has had tremendous success getting after the quarterback on third down.

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About the Author: J.C. Allen

J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
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Eddie
Eddie(@oct62020)
2 months ago

Left Tackle Smith will be exposed without Gronk’s help. Hope he can play lights out this Sunday

Dman
Dman(@dman)
Reply to  Eddie
2 months ago

Yup.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27(@cgmaster27)
2 months ago

Injuries mounting early for our Bucs. But fortunately, AB is back so that’ll help with coverages. It’s the defense I’m worried about. Would love to see Devin White have a big game with a sack or 2. You too Mr. Barret.

Spruce
Spruce(@mdb06074gmail-com)
2 months ago

James White is out for the season so as far as critical players go it’s a tie. Plus the Pat’s list their only top tier cornerback JC Jackson as questionable although the Pat’s do that all the time and they play.

Spitfire
Spitfire(@spitfire)
Reply to  Spruce
2 months ago

I wouldn’t call trading Gronkowski for Shite as a wash, but we do have enough talent to still be just fine. Freakin Howard needs to show the hell up like he’s completely capable of doing and he is a decent blocker, and Brate has some of the best hands I’ve ever seen on an above average TE. Hopefully Brady spreads the ball around like he likes to do and puts the Pats out of their misery. I just hope Sherman can contribute is asked to and these injuries are short lived.

Buc76
Buc76(@jjjj)
2 months ago

We don’t need Gronk, JPP, SMB and others now. We need them in December January when it counts. It’s about the end. That’s what we Buc fans don’t really get until last year set aside 2002. It’s about being hot at the end. That’s it

pinkstob
pinkstob(@pinkstob)
2 months ago

*Nervous Sweating Guy Emoji* €:-(

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