Rob Gronkowski, star tight end for the New England Patriots, received a one-game suspension from the NFL for his hit on defenseless Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 23-3 win by the Patriots.
The resulting hit by Gronkowski, who had been battling White all game long, came immediately after White came away with an interception of a Tom Brady pass intended for Gronkowski with 4:50 remaining in the fourth, and New England leading 23-3.
As White was lying face-down on the turf at New Era Field, Gronkowski shuffled his feet several times as he moved towards White. He left his feet and delivered a late hit with his shoulder on White, driving his arm into the back of White’s helmet.
While Gronkowski received a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty, he was not ejected from the game.
"Your actions were not incidental, could have been avoided and placed the opposing player at risk of serious injury. The Competition Committee has clearly expressed its goal of 'eliminating flagrant hits that have no place in our game.' Those hits include the play you were involved in yesterday," vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote in the letter to Gronkowski to inform him of his suspension.
Official release on Rob Gronkowski being suspended for next Monday night’s game vs. the Miami Dolphins: pic.twitter.com/REGzexzCIP— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 4, 2017
As a result of Gronkowski’s hit, White, Buffalo’s talented first-round draft pick, is in the league’s concussion protocol.
Gronkowski will appeal the penalty, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski will appeal his one-game suspension, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 4, 2017
This is the first NFL suspension for Gronkowski, who was drafted in the second round by the Patriots during the 2010 draft.