New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, fresh off a successful (and fourth) surgery on his left forearm, now has to resume worrying about back issues that have persisted for the past year. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport writes that although Gronkowski will see a back specialist in the near future, neither the Patriots nor Gronkowski really know how bad or what sort of treatment and recovery time he will need.
As Rapoport writes, Gronkowski's forearm will need two more months to recuperate and any additional surgery required on his back makes it seem unlikely that Gronkowski's season will, or should, start on time. Even while the Patriots await the news on his back, it could be time for New England to think about giving Gronkowski a little more time on the shelf as a precaution.
Here's what else is going on around the NFL this Friday.
Falcons, Seymour not so close -- for now
Despite reports that indicated the Atlanta Falcons and defensive lineman Richard Seymour were in talks about a potential deal, Rapoport reported there is "nothing serious" currently ongoing between the two sides.
Dave Choate of SB Nation's Falcons blog, The Falcoholic, writes that despite the varying reports, he thinks Atlanta will sign Seymour at some point:
I still expect this to eventually happen, given the logical fit of team need, Seymour's proximity to Atlanta and his desire to play for a contender. But it may not be now, and it may not happen right after June 1. Stay tuned.
June 1 is the day the Falcons are set to erase $4 million owed to Tyson Clabo from their salary cap considerations.
Ron Jaworski isn't sold on Chip Kelly's offense working in NFL
The former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and current TV commentator doesn't think Kelly's offense, which worked wonders at Oregon, projects well to the NFL. JasonB of Eagles blog Bleeding Green Nation explains that, according to Kelly, the Eagles won't be running the former offense of the Ducks anyway. The differences remain to be seen.
Saints sign Roman Harper to extension
New Orleans saved itself some salary cap room by keeping the 30-year-old Harper around through the 2015 season. He will make $4 million in guaranteed money in 2013.
Dave Cariello of Saints blog Canal Street Chronicles breaks down the team's money-saving tactics with the signing:
The new deal extends Harper through the 2015 season, which should help the Saints financially by spreading out the money. Harper was set to have a $7.1 million salary cap figure, including a base salary of $5.25 million of which more than $2.5 million would have been guaranteed on the third day of the league year.
Bears to retire Ditka's number; Urlacher wanted to be a Cowboy?
We'll end the day with some Chicago Bears news. First, the franchise plans to retire Mike Ditka's No. 89 in a ceremony during their Monday Night Football contest against the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 9. Ditka, before he became their Super Bowl-winning head coach, played tight end for the team in the 1960s.
Next, before recently-retired linebacker Brian Urlacher decided to call it a career, he would have considered joining the Dallas Cowboys before riding off into the sunset, according to a report from Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune on Friday.
Here's Urlacher, from the report:
"If I could have picked a spot, it would have been Dallas. They run our defense. They took our d-coordinator (Rod Marinelli). That would have been ideal. But they have two really good young linebackers."
While it likely won't happen now, Archie Barberio of Cowboys blog, Blogging The Boys, imagines what could have been.