Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski was the only player not seen on Tuesday as the New England Patriots came onto the field for practice, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

The reason for his absence is unknown, though Reiss speculated that perhaps the Pats were purposefully holding Gronk out because the team was practicing in full pads. Though, Reiss also noted Gronkowski might have arrived after the period of time in which reporters have access to the field.

The Patriots need the tight end to be at full strength and as sharp as possible for the upcoming AFC divisional round matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, winners of 11 straight games. Kansas City’s defense has been on some kind of roll during the streak and completely shut out the Houston Texans in the wild card round.

Of course, New England is far and away a better offensive team, led by Tom Brady, than the Texans were. Even without Gronk you’d expect the Pats to score at least once. That said, there can be no replacing the talent and energy Gronkowski brings to the offense when he’s in the game.