New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee during the team’s 27-26 comeback victory Sunday over the Cleveland Browns, multiple sources have reported.
Coach Bill Belichick acknowledged the injury Monday morning, and said the team will likely use several players to fulfill Gronkowski’s role.
“Whoever is in there is going to have to fulfill some of those duties but it may expand to more people, like we ended up having to do offensively, using more four-receiver sets instead of three receivers and a tight end or something like that. Or it might result in the tight ends getting more plays, or some combination there.
“Some of that may change from game to game, but obviously we’ve unfortunately had to play without Rob for games at the beginning of the season and we may be in that situation again. We’ve dealt with that already this year. If we have to deal with it again, that will probably be something similar to what we’ve already dealt with this year.”
The Patriots have two other tight ends on the roster, veterans Matthew Mulligan and Michael Hoomanawanui, who missed his third straight game Sunday.
Tight end D.J. Williams, released by the Patriots last week, is en route to Foxborough and will re-sign with the team if he passes a physical, a source told ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss.
The 24-year-old Gronkowski missed the first six games this season while recovering from offseason back and forearm surgeries. Over the past six games, he has caught 37 passes for 560 yards and four touchdowns.
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