NFL news roundup: More on Rob Gronkowski's back surgery, Steven Jackson to catch passes in Atlanta

Rick Stewart

Rob Gronkowski's agent downplayed the significance of his client's back surgery, and Falcons head coach Mike Smith said he would like to use Steven Jackson as a "receiving back." Those stories and more in Thursday's NFL news roundup.

Many New England Patriots fans were understandably frustrated to hear Wednesday that Rob Gronkowski would be undergoing surgery again, this time for his back. Agent Drew Rosenhaus downplayed the significance of the surgery, however, saying on Thursday that the procedure isn't "a big deal."

"This is a new injury, and it's minor, it's not as significant. ... I don't think it's a big deal, I think it's more preventative maintenance than anything else. It's something that, although he needs it, he's had it for awhile and he's been able to function."

Hopefully for the sanity of Pats fans and Gronkowski fantasy football owners, Rosenhaus proves to be right. The 12-week recovery period for the procedure could force the tight end to miss part of the regular season. The good news for Gronkowski is that he may have missed that time while recovering from his fourth forearm surgery, anyway.

Here are some more stories you may have missed Thursday:

Falcons to use Steven Jackson as 'receiving back'

The Falcons are hoping for a career resurgence from Steven Jackson, and it's looking like that's going to include utilizing his skills as a receiver. Jackson had 90 receptions when he led the league in yards from scrimmage, but that was in 2006. Head coach Mike Smith doesn't seem think that's an issue:

"He’s a guy who had close to 100 catches in a season, so he’s a guy that we can use in the passing game. He’s not just a running back, he’s a receiving back as well."

Jackson has averaged 42 receptions per year over his last three seasons.

Broncos sign Quentin Jammer as a safety

Quentin Jammer signed a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos, but given their depth at cornerback, the team expects him to play at safety. The Broncos signed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and drafted Kayvon Webster, leaving them stocked at corner and short a safety. Jammer will reportedly fill that role, and has commented that he is well able to cover tight ends.

Lions sign Montell Owens to boost special teams

The Detroit Lions have reportedly signed Montell Owens with an eye towards playing him on special teams. Their special teams is among the worst in the league, and Owens has twice made the Pro Bowl special teams roster. He holds the Jaguars' franchise record for most special teams tackles, both in a season, with 30, and total, with 118.

Joel Dreessen to miss Broncos minicamp after knee surgery

Arthroscopic knee surgery is likely to keep Dreessen out of the rest of the offseason, which may hamper his follow-up to a strong 2012. Dreessen had a career-high 41 receptions last year, and came just one touchdown short of tying his career high of six. The tight end is likely to continue finding success in the Peyton Manning-driven offense, but that will have to wait.

Giants sign Brian Bosworth's nephew

Outside linebacker Kyle Bosworth has a famous uncle: legendary Oklahoma Sooner and former Seattle Seahawk Brian Bosworth. Bosworth didn't make quite the same splash, going undrafted out of UCLA in 2010, but he earned his way onto the field with the Jacksonville Jaguars, appearing in all 16 games of the 2012 season. He had 37 combined tackles and an interception, and that was enough to attract the attention of the Giants.

More from SB Nation:

Can the Jets move forward?

Gronk needs surgery, Foster gets MRI

Rams must bend offense to fit Tavon Austin

The Maurice Jones-Drew incident: What actually happened?

Which AFC team could go from worst to first? | Which NFC team?

Behind the scenes with NFL rookies | More from the NFLPA Rookie Premiere

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