That didn't take long.
Barely 24 hours after he launched himself at Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White following an interception, Rob Gronkowski has been suspended by the NFL for one game. According to ESPN, the tight end plans to appeal the sentence in hopes of having it reduced simply to a fine.
If, however, the punishment is upheld, Gronkowski would be forced to miss the Patriots' next game, a week from tonight in Miami against the Dolphins.
Gronkowski was flagged for a personal foul after his hit on White, who was lying on the ground out of bounds and in a defenseless position. In a letter to Gronkowski announcing the additional league penalty late Monday afternoon, NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan wrote, "Your actions were not incidental, could have been avoided and placed the opposing player at risk of serious injury. 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."
Less than an hour after Sunday's game in Buffalo, Gronkowski expressed both remorse for having hit White in such a fashion and frustration with many of the officiating decisions against him in yesterday's game and in seasons past, which he cited for causing him to react in the uncharacteristic way he did.
"I want to apologize to No. 27. I'm not in the business of that," he declared, referring to White's jersey number. "It was a lot of frustration. I was just really frustrated in that moment. It just happened naturally through emotions and frustration.
"I felt like it was a big hold [by White] at the top [of the route]," he continued. "I felt like he was pushing a little bit and made the play, and I just don't understand why there wasn't a flag [for pass interference]. There were a couple of times in the game – they're calling me for the craziest stuff ever… I mean, what am I supposed to do? And then they don't call that? It was just frustration. That's what happened.
"Just want to apologize to Tre'Davious White. I don't believe in taking shots like that. That [kind of behavior] definitely can hurt the team. Obviously, it didn't hurt the team there, but it could in the future."
The Patriots are certainly a different offense (read "not as potent") without Gronkowski on the field, so, having him miss any time would be disappointing and potentially require a change of game plan for next week's contest in Miami. However, if ESPN's report proves accurate, Gronkowski should have a response from the league regarding his appeal in short order.