Gronkowski not a lock for opener

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS WEEKEND -

Pa­tri­ots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski said Thurs­day that he couldn’t guar­an­tee he will play in Sun­day night’s sea­son opener against the Car­di­nals be­cause of his ham­string in­jury.

“Yeah, it boils to a coach­ing de­ci­sion, the med­i­cal team, and my­self,” Gronkowski said. “We’ll all get to­gether and col­lab­o­rate and see where I’m at.”

Gronkowski suf­fered the in­jury when he pulled up while at­tempt­ing to catch a pass from Tom Brady along the side­line dur­ing a joint prac­tice with the Bears on Aug. 15. Gronkowski walked off un­der his own power and re­turned to prac­tice on a lim­ited ba­sis Aug. 24 but didn’t play in the team’s fi­nal two pre­sea­son games.

The four-time Pro Bowl player was lim­ited in prac­tice this week and said he wasn’t 100 per­cent.

“I’ve just been week to week with a lit­tle hammy thing,” he said. “But I’m feel­ing good.”

The Pa­tri­ots ac­quired Pro Bowl se­lec­tion Martel­lus Ben­nett from the Bears in March to be Gronkowski’s pri­mary backup. Luck ‘good’: Colts gen­eral man­ager Ryan Grig­son con­firmed to an In­di­anapo­lis ra­dio sta­tion an ESPN.com re­port that three-time Pro Bowl quar­ter­back An­drew Luck is feel­ing fine and will start Sun­day against the Li­ons.

Luck missed nine games last sea­son with a lac­er­ated kid­ney, abdominal tear and bro­ken ribs and was a lim­ited par­tic­i­pant in prac­tice Thurs­day for the sec­ond straight day be­cause of a shoul­der in­jury.

Grig­son in­sisted that it was no cause for alarm.

“He’s all good,” Grig­son said. “I mean the guy’s thrown a zil­lion balls. ... I guess you could look for some­thing that’s not there, but he’s go­ing to be ready and we have a plan that we think is best for him and one he feels good about.” Steel­ers sign guard: The Steel­ers signed All-Pro guard David DeCas­tro to a six-year con­tract that runs through 2021.

ESPN re­ported that the deal is worth $58 mil­lion. DeCas­tro’s pre­vi­ous con­tract was due to ex­pire at the end of the sea­son.

The fourth-year pro out of Stan­ford started 16 games in each of the past two sea­sons, and was an All-Pro se­lec­tion last year. An­other takes stand: Broncos line­backer Bran­don Mar­shall, a col­lege team­mate of 49ers backup quar­ter­back Colin Kaeper­nick, took to a knee dur­ing the na­tional an­them be­fore Thurs­day night’s sea­son opener against the Panthers in Denver.

Kaeper­nick re­fused to stand for the an­them dur­ing the pre­sea­son, ex­plain­ing it was to protest racial op­pres­sion and po­lice bru­tal­i­tyMar­shall had stood with his hand over his heart dur­ing the an­them be­fore a pre­sea­son game Aug. 20. Ex­tra points: San Francisco prose­cu­tors charged tight end Bruce Miller with mul­ti­ple counts of as­sault and bat­tery, in­clud­ing as­sault with a deadly weapon, af­ter he al­legedly at­tacked a 70-year-old man and his son while in­tox­i­cated at a ho­tel Mon­day.

Prose­cu­tors said the deadly weapon was a cane.

The 49ers re­leased Miller on Mon­day.

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