New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski walks off the field after an injury in the second quarter during the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Super Bowl status of tight end Rob Gronkowski should be a daily feed of info. Constant updates on Gronk’s recovery from the NFL’s concussion protocol. So you can be sure that the reports will go with any detail they can.

Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater spoke briefly about Gronkowski on Monday, assuring that the tight end’s own mood feels positive despite his head injury.

“He was in pretty good spirits today when I spoke to him,” Slater told reporters on Monday.

Not an update on Gronk’s injury, but an update nonetheless. And, for the sake of Gronk personally, an encouraging one.

The Human Element

Slater is often one of the first Patriots to give encouragement to injured teammates. It comes as no surprise that Slater, last year’s winner of the Bart Starr award for exemplifying “character and leadership on and off the field,” would go beyond football to show support for his teammates as human beings.

“I mean you obviously just want to make sure that your brother is doing okay. That whatever the injury is that he’s doing okay,” said Slater. “I often refer to the human element that is sometimes missed in this game. You think about making plays and winning games and fantasy points, etc. But there’s a human element involved and I think that’s your number one concern when a guy is in that situation.”


Gronkowski is in the concussion protocol after Barry Church’s hard helmet-to-helmet hit knocked him out of Sunday’s AFC Championship Game. However, the Patriots reportedly expressed optimism that Gronk will clear the protocol in time for the Super Bowl. Slater is apparently optimistic as well.

The Patriots play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII in two weeks at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

— By Matt Dolloff,

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at