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Gronkowski’s mother comes to his defense Dan Leberfeld

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski hasn’t played in any games this year due to back and arm issues.

And he’s taken some criticism.

His mother has heard enough.

“All I can say is Robbie is dying to play. He wants to get out there,” Diane Gronkowski told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “He’s doing what he has to do to get back playing. He doesn’t like it. He wants to play. It really bothers him that he’s not playing.

“The same people who criticize him for not coming back are the same people who say he came back too soon last time. It is what it is. Rob is the only one who can make this decision. Anybody else who has a comment to make positively or negatively aren’t Rob. They aren’t in his shoes. They didn’t go through the surgeries that he went through. “When they go through four arm surgeries, a back surgery, and a foot surgery in a year and a half, then they can make the comments. After the third (forearm) surgery, Robbie said, ‘I’m never doing this again.’ And weeks later, he’s back in for the fourth one. So he doesn’t want to go back where he was and start all over again. It wasn’t fun. It was so discouraging.”