Can Patriots deal with 'Gronk Effect'?

Potential absence of high-impact tight end offers big challenge for New England

Updated: February 1, 2012, 1:16 AM ET
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- In many cases in which an injured player isn't healthy enough to fully perform his normal football duties, there is a trickle-down effect.

This is something different. Call it the "Gronk Effect," and it's far-reaching.

Everyone knows Rob Gronkowski is a vital part of the New England Patriots -- 90 receptions, 1,327 receiving yards, an NFL-leading 290 yards after contact and a tight end-record 17 touchdown catches during the 2011 regular season. But his ...

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