Originally posted on Patriots Extra  |  Last updated 7/1/13

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 02: Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots celebrate after teaming up for a first quarter touchdown against the New York Giants on September 2, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Rob Gronkowski is a phenomenal player.  He has been among the best tight ends since he has entered the league.  Unfortunately, he has also spent a good amount of time on the shelf due to injuries.  This is why the Patriots would be wise to shut him down until the playoffs start.  At first, this may sound crazy given the offensive woes of the Patriots.  However, with the mediocre division that is the AFC East, the Patriots are almost assured a playoff spot.  Given this fact, why would you rush a player of Gronkowski's caliber back before he is completely ready, ultimately risking losing him completely?  One could argue that the Patriots did that exact thing last season.  The team brought him back for a "tune up" game before the playoffs, only to lose him for the entire postseason.  Now they are left to wonder what might have been in the AFC Championship game against the Ravens.  Had he been healthy, that game could have played out very differently, and the Patriots very well could ha...
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