Miami Dolphins catch break: NFL suspends Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski 1 game

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski talks with back judge Dino Paganelli late in Sunday’s game vs. Buffalo. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

DAVIE — For the second consecutive week the Dolphins are catching a break thanks to the NFL’s behavior police.

The NFL announced Monday that Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski will be suspended without pay for next Monday night’s game against the Dolphins for a hit on Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White on Sunday. That could change if Gronkowski successfully appeals, and ESPN reported he does plan to appeal.

As it stands, the Patriots would get Gronkowski back the following week for their critical AFC matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s possible the schedule could make the Patriots have second thoughts about appealing, should they not want to risk losing Gronkowski for the Pittsburgh game if the case gets bogged down.

“Your actions were not incidental, could have been avoided and placed the opposing player at risk of serious injury,” NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote to Gronkowski. “The Competition Committee has clearly expressed its goal of ‘eliminating flagrant hits that have no place in our game.’ Those hits include the play you were involved in yesterday.”

White was lying face-down after he intercepted a Tom Brady pass when Gronkowski dove into him, driving his arm into the back of White’s helmet and causing a concussion.

Gronkowski was penalized for unnecessary roughness and apologized.

“I don’t believe in shots like that,” Gronkowski said. “I’m not in the business of that. It was a lot of frustration. At that moment, it happened naturally through emotions and frustration.”

Gronkowski scored touchdowns of 5 and 15 yards against the Dolphins a week ago, when he caught five passes for 82 yards. He has eight touchdowns in 11 career games against the Dolphins. Buffalo is the only team he has beaten for more touchdowns (11).

For his career vs. Miami, Gronkowski has 44 catches for 688 yards, a 15.6 average.

Tom Brady is 10-0 over the past 1 1/2 seasons when Gronkowski has been out.

Dolphins coach Adam Gase met with the media before the suspension was announced Monday. Asked about the potential of facing a Gronk-less New England side, Gase said, “That’s out of my hands. We’re going like he’s going to be there until somebody tells us different.”

The Dolphins won 35-9 on Sunday against a Denver Broncos team minus Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib, who fought with Oakland receiver Michael Crabtree a week ago.

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