Tight end Rob Gronkowski will miss the start of the Patriots season, the team announced Friday night.
Gronk did not make the flight with the team to Arizona, where the Pats will take on the Cardinals Sunday. Dealing with a hamstring issue, he did not participate fully in practice Wednesday or Thursday.
Tom Brady, obviously, will be out the first four games of the season, suspended for deflating footballs before the AFC Championship Game in 2014.
Brady's replacement for the season's first quarter, Jimmy Garopolo, will not only lose a huge target in Gronk — he will be dealing with a tattered offensive line, as the team announced Nate Solder and Jonathan Cooper have also been ruled out.
One of the game's most dynamic players, Gronkowski made it into 30 of 32 regular season games in the last two years, despite durability questions. In 2015, he made 72 catches on 120 targets for 1,176 yards and 11 touchdowns. He added another 227 yards on 15 catches in a pair of playoff games. In the prior season, he helped the Patriots bring home the Lombardi Trophy.