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Peter King on M&M: Patriots better off giving Rob Gronkowski more time

09.20.13 at 1:01 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, during his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Friday, talked about the Patriots’ matchup Sunday against the Buccaneers.

Rob Gronkowski appears close to returning, with reports that he might play Sunday after practicing this week. However, King expects the Patriots to be cautious with the oft-injured tight end.

“The day I was in camp I just got the sense there that the last thing they were going is to do is something dumb and rush Gronkowski back. Because remember, in the past they rushed him back and it screwed things up,” King said. “So, you’re better off trying to win a fire-drill game against a team you should be able to beat — not easily, but you should be able to beat — in Tampa, and then have this guy for the last 13 weeks.

“If I were them, that’s probably the way I would try to handle it — keeping in mind, the way they played against the Jets, they could lose to any team in the league right now except for Jacksonville. But it’s worse if you play Gronkowski, you have doubts, and he gets hurt again. Then you know that you made a mistake. So, I do agree with the proceed-with-caution mantra here.”

The Buccaneers come in at 0-2 and have had some internal issues, with reports of discord between some key players and second-year coach Greg Schiano.

“I think the Bucs feel they’ve got a snitch the building,” King said. “Or the agent of a player or something like that. They don’t know where a lot of the noise is coming from, but they’re a little concerned about that, that there’s somebody leaking out stuff. ‘€¦ Somebody inside the building or who knows a little something wants the public to think Schiano is doing the wrong things.”

Cornerback Darrelle Revis is one of those disgruntled players, although he reportedly cleared the air with Schiano this week. With Julian Edelman, the Patriots’ only healthy and reliable receiver through two weeks.

“That’s exactly what I would do if I were them,” King said. “I’d say, hey, Kenbrell Thompkins, have at it. Zach Sudfeld, if that’s who’s going to play.”

Touching on the Browns’s surprising trade of running back Trent Richardson to the Colts this week, King questioned how the move would be received in the Cleveland locker room.

“My only question is, what are you saying to the veterans on the team?” King said. “In football, a lot of these guys have such short careers. And you’re saying, ‘They’re asking me to take the next 14 weeks, the next 14 games to go fly around, risk the end of my career when they have pretty much made it clear they’re playing for 2014. I think it’s dangerous.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Darrelle Revis, Greg Schiano, Peter King, Rob Gronkowski
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