Tom Brady says nobody will feel sorry for the New England Patriots after tight end Rob Gronkowski was ruled out for the remainder of the season.
It was confirmed early this week that Gronkowski was put on the injured reserved list after tearing both his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and mediate collateral ligament (MCL) in the Patriots' thrilling 27-26 comeback against the Cleveland Browns.
It was an astonishing third straight second half comeback win led by Brady, but the taste of victory was soured somewhat with a low tackle by Browns safety T.J. Ward on a 21-yard reception in the third quarter.
Brady admitted he and the rest of Gronk's teammates felt great pity for him, but doubted whether anyone else would that was not connected with the franchise.
"I think we all feel sorry for Rob, but I don’t think anyone feels sorry for the Patriots," the former Super Bowl MVP is quoted as saying by USA Today.
Losing Gronkowski is a major blow to Bill Belichick and his players, as the bid tight end is crucial to the effectiveness of their teams and the chances of them going to the Super Bowl will have been lessened significantly.
However, Brady later insisted there was no point in sulking about the situation and said the Pats would just have to adapt to life without Gronk and take encouragement from the pair of drives they went on inside the final two minutes to clinch the win against Cleveland.
"It just shifts; you just have to find a different formula," Brady is quoted as saying in an ESPN.com report.
"I think that's the important part. And Gronk provides a certain margin of error because of how talented a player he is, and the other guys play different roles for us.
"Those roles are going to have to shift, kind of what we did on the last two drives of the game," Brady said. "We had four receivers at points, at different points we had more [tight ends] with [fullback, James] Develin and [Matthew] Mulligan on the field."
ESPN also corroborated an earlier report from the Boston Globe, which claimed that tight end D.J. Williams was set to resign for the team, subject to passing a physical, just a week after being released.