FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft was a guest on 98.5 The Sports Hub as part of his weekly pre-game interview and he was asked about the role of Dr. James Andrews providing medical advice to tight end Rob Gronkowski.
“Dr. Andrews isn’t a Patriots doctor. It seems like we’ve talked about this a lot, if a player is going to come back he has to be medically cleared and he personally has to be ready to get back on the field. Those are the two things that need to happen. Neither one should be diminished," he said.
"Sometimes you’re a player and you want to go out there and play, and for their own good, you need to be held back. Sometimes you have players who are cleared medically and they’re not just ready psychologically to get back on the field. As we talked about, you shouldn’t step on an NFL field unless you are. Either of those are equally fine [orders] and metrics.
"What we care about with Rob, as with any of our players, is what is in their best interest long-term for their health and safety and their careers. I preface all of my comments by saying that. As it relates to players in our locker room, I haven’t heard one thing from any player in our locker room about Rob. As I stand here, I know nothing about it. I haven’t heard.
“As it relates to Dr. Andrews, he is not a Patriots team doctor. He’s never worked for us. He isn’t a part of our organization … We encourage players, if they want to with any medical issue, to get a second opinion. I don’t know that Rob has hired Dr. Andrews. I’ve read the reports. I’ve never talked to him; I shouldn’t say that. I met him 15 years ago and that’s the only time I’ve ever talked to him. If Rob, or Rob’s agent, or his family has hired him, I guess he is advising Rob and he’s obviously a credible doctor who has experience with pro athletes. If Rob has another doctor advising him, that’s fine too. He should be totally comfortable getting medical advice outside of the club’s medical advice. I don’t even know there is a dispute. To my knowledge, if there is one, I’m not aware of it.”
Kraft was then asked if there is a fractured relationship with Gronkowski and the team.
“Not from the level with anybody named Kraft,” he responded. “I’m not aware of it with anybody anywhere else. … Rob is going to know when he wants to play and Rob loves the game of football. When Rob wants to play, when Rob can play, he’ll play. No one here questions Rob’s desire about the game, about his passion for the game, and wanting to play the game of football.”