Rob Gronkowski said the arrow was pointing up towards his return to action in Week 11, and now that arrow is pointing in. Gronkowski is active for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants and is expected to play a significant role for the first time since Week Three.
The Buccaneers' offense gains a new dimension with the return of Gronkowski, who has played a total of six snaps in Tampa Bay's last six games. Gronkowski initially suffered fractured ribs in Week Three at Los Angeles, then developed a back injury that short-circuited his first attempt to return to action in Week Eight in New Orleans. Before his injury in Week Three, Gronkowski caught 16 passes for 184 yards and four touchdowns. In the six games that he was sidelined, Buccaneer tight ends Cam Brate and O.J. Howard combined for 20 catches, 181 yards and two scores.
Tampa Bay also welcomes back a key contributor on both defense and special teams. Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting and long-snapper Zach Triner, both injured in the season-opening win over the Cowboys, were activated from injured reserve on Monday night and were kept among the team's active players for tonight's game. However, wide receiver Antonio Brown will be out for a fourth consecutive game due to an ankle injury and the team's slim hopes that Vita Vea would make it back from last weekend's knee injury in time for tonight's game were not realized after a pregame workout.
Tampa Bay and New York each submitted a list of their inactive players at 6:45 p.m. ET on Monday, 90 minutes before the scheduled kickoff of their Week 11 meeting at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers came into the day with a 51-man roster but the activations of Murphy-Bunting and Triner and the elevation of wide receiver Breshad Perriman in the afternoon pushed that to 54, meaning they had to declare six players inactive to get down to the game limit of 48.
The Giants will still be missing several regular contributors, as wide receiver Sterling Shepard and outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter were unable to return from quad and ankle injuries, respectively. Shepard is the team's leading receiver with 32 catches and Carter started the Giants' first eight games. The New York defense will also be without free safety Logan Ryan, who is not on the inactive list because he was placed on the reserve/COVID list on Saturday.
- S Andrew Adams
- ·WR Antonio Brown
- OL Nick Leverett
- LS Carson Tinker
- QB Kyle Trask
- DL Vita Vea
Brown and Vea are out due to injury.
- LB Lorenzo Carter
- S Nate Ebner
- FB Cullen Gillaspia
- OL Wes Martin
- WR Sterling Shepard
- TE Kaden Smith
- LB Oshabe Ximenes
Carter, Ebner and Shepard are out due to injury.