Tough news coming out of Foxborough this week. Tough with a capital T tough.

After the hit he took in the Seattle game, Rob Gronkowski punctured a lung and messed up his back. He took a week off then tried to come back last week but ultimately had to hit the showers early cause of pain in his back and leg. Not totally sure how a punctured lung connects to your leg, but I’ll ask Dr. Andy and we’ll get to the bottom of it on next week’s segment of the podcast Science Lessons with Andy.

Huge loss. Catastrophic, even. Gronk is the best tight end of all time, unless he doesn’t stay healthy, which is becoming a common theme in New England.

Without Gronk, this team is far worse. I know what you’re thinking. It’s the Patriotss, next man up, do your job, blah, blah. But all that mumbo jumbo is just talk unless you actually do it.

The Patriots have the weapons, and they have another stud TE in Marty Bennett, but Gronk is a once in a lifetime freak with size, speed, hands as soft as a baby’s bottom, and most importantly, TB12’s utmost trust. Gronk is THE guy you want getting the ball on a 4th-and-goal situation with the game on the line. He’s a beast and a playmaker and an underrated as a blocker. Above all, he’s a glue guy and a leader. Gronk is a guy everyone looks up to and respects, and the big tight end keeps it light in the locker room as well. That’s the kind of guy fans want on their team and on the field.

If Gronk does indeed miss the rest of the season — which he probably should because a punctured lung crosses into the life injury not football injury category — he is going to be severely missed. Does this ruin New England’s shot at another Super Bowl trip? Absolutely not. Does this make the path a little more difficult? Absolutely, yes.

Gronk is as the rare athlete who is a stud on the field and an absolute menace off the field, yet never gets in trouble. Fans should never take him for granted.