Rob Gronkowski is set to undergo back surgery Tuesday, and while a large portion of his recovery will be eaten up by rehab on his previously surgically repaired forearm, he may still miss additional time with the New England Patriots. ESPN's Ed Werder reported Monday that the Pats still have no idea when Gronkowski will return.
There is a chance that Gronkowski will be on the physically unable to perform list throughout training camp. If so, he will have to be added to the active roster before the start of the regular season, or be forced to miss the first six weeks of the season. If Gronkowski suffers any kind of setback, it could mean losing a significant portion of the season.
The Cincinnati Bengals will be the subject in the eighth season of HBO's acclaimed series "Hard Knocks." They join the Dallas Cowboys as repeat subjects of the show, having previously been featured in 2009. The Bengals drew series-high ratings that year, and no doubt HBO is hoping for repeat success.
For the uninitiated, Hard Knocks follows the travails of an NFL football team through training camp in five well-produced episode series. Well-known personalities are put under the microscope, like New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan in 2010 and Miami Dolphins wide receiver Chad Johnson last year, but special attention is also paid to relatively unknown players trying to make the roster.
The series will air every Tuesday in hour-long episodes on HBO, beginning Aug. 6.
Speak of hard knocks, Chad Johnson is out of jail just seven days into his 30-day sentence for slapping his attorney's butt in a courtroom. Johnson was granted leniency after apologizing to the judge whom he offended.
Johnson's release gives him a chance to get a slight head-start on his NFL comeback attempt. Unfortunately, he was last seen being released on the aforementioned acclaimed television series after being arrested for domestic violence against his now ex-wife Evelyn Lozada. Before that, he was a seldom used wide receiver in 2011 for the Patriots.
The Atlanta Falcons have been locked in a long contract negotiation with Richard Seymour that never seems to go anywhere. The two sides were reportedly at an impasse Sunday, and according to reports it's all thanks to Matt Ryan.
The Falcons are currently working on a contract with their franchise quarterback that should rival the mega deals signed by Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco and Tony Romo this offseason. The deal is expected to be structured in a way that will free some immediate cap space needed to sign Seymour, but until the deal is done the Falcons don't have enough room to bring on the veteran defensive lineman.
There is every indication that Seymour and the Falcons want to get a deal done. Seymour has deep roots in Georgia and the Falcons want to win a Super Bowl sooner rather than later. Stay tuned.
One can make a strong argument that Devin Hester is the greatest return man to ever play in the NFL. That said, Hester's numbers were very un-Hester like last season. He averaged just 8.3 yards per punt return last season after averaging 16.7 yards per attempt over the course of the 2010 and 2011 seasons. His 25.9 yards per kickoff return were much more respectable, but after finding the end zone six times on special teams over that two-year span, he failed to score a touchdown once last season.
As a result, Hester may be in danger of his losing his roster spot, according to CSN Chicago. Hester is currently locked in an open competition for starting kick return duties with Earl Bennett and others. If Hester loses, he may soon be moving out of Chicago, given how little he has provided as a wide receiver over his career with the Bears.
Another team would likely give the 30-year-old another chance should he find himself on the free-agent market, but it may be disheartening for Chicago fans to have to see another Bears legend leave after the team let go of Brian Urlacher earlier this offseason.
When Willis McGahee was released last week, many thought the Denver Broncos were making a conscious decision to turn the running game over to a stable of young running backs featuring rookie Montee Ball, second-year man Ronnie Hillman and 2009 pick Knowshon Moreno. According to reports, the Broncos may also have been more concerned about McGahee's knee issues than previously believed.
McGahee's 2012 season ended in November thanks to a torn MCL. He has dealt with other major knee injuries in the past, most notably in the 2003 BCS Championship Game when he tore his ACL, PCL and MCL on a screen pass. That said, he was also an incredibly productive back in Denver despite approaching the latter stages of his career. McGahee's 4.8 and 4.4 yards per carry averages in 2010 and 2011, respectively, were the second- and third-best averages of his career.
Donald Driver is a happily retired man, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't run back out on the field if the Green Bay Packers asked. That's only if the Packers asked, however. Driver said at a press conference for his charity softball game that several teams have called to see if the veteran wideout is interested in returning to the NFL, and Driver has politely rebuffed them all, via FOX Sports Wisconsin:
"I talked to so many different guys and every guy that I've talked to said they wish they never went to another team," Driver said. "They always wished they would've retired with that team that they played 10, 11, 12 years for.
"When I asked them, 'Should I go back?,' they say, 'If you don't have that love for another team, don't go back. You're not going to get the same love, you're not going to get the same respect that you got from them that you got from Green Bay.'"
After 14 seasons in Green Bay, that kind of love is understandable.
Bryant McKinnie's conditioning was a major point of contention between the left tackle and the Baltimore Ravens organization. He was set to start until he showed up to training camp out of shape. Then he proceeded to ride the bench for most of the year.
Pehaps spurred by the Ravens' Super Bowl victory, McKinnie is reportedly in much better shape this year. Per The Baltimore Sun:
"Bryant did a really good job," [head coach Jim] Harbaugh said. "He moved really well in this camp, as well as he moved at the end of the year last year when he started practicing so well and playing so well.
"He looks healthy, and he will continue to work on his conditioning. He seems to be very committed. Love the way he's playing and his effort."
That's great news for the Ravens. McKinnie played a pivotal role in the team's playoff run to the Super Bowl last season.