Rob Gronkowski had his fourth surgery of the year on Tuesday, but this one wasn't on his broken forearm like the other three. The Patriots tight end (and deadliest offensive weapon) underwent surgery to correct a spinal issue, though doctors are optimistic Gronk could make it back for Week 1.
There's no doubt Gronk's health is a concern at this point, since the last of four straight surgeries is the most serious one. Gronk was out for five games in the regular season because of the forearm and hip injuries. And the Pats could have used him in the AFC title game, which they lost to eventual the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
The question is how dire is the tight end situation in New England right now? Gronk's body seems to be collapsing before our very eyes. Aaron Hernandez is in the news for one of the top 5 worse reasons to be in the news and we don't know where it goes from here.
Then there's the possibility of turning Tim Tebow into a tight end. That's the guy who hasn't been able to make significant progress at the position he's played his entire football career.
New England needs Gronk to be Gronk or golden boy Tom Brady is going to have to reinvent the wheel.