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The Patriots Just Found Their Replacement for Rob Gronkowski

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Rob Gronkowski’s retirement left a massive hole on the tight end depth chart for the New England Patriots, and the team is making moves to help fill that void.

The Patriots signed one of the top remaining free agent tight ends in Austin Seferian-Jenkins on Wednesday.

New England will be Seferian-Jenkins’ fourth team in four years.

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He spent last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, playing in just five games before heading to injured reserve. He reportedly played those five games with two hernia tears.

One of those games was a Week 2 win against the Patriots in which Seferian-Jenkins had three receptions for 23 yards and a touchdown.

Seferian-Jenkins’ best season came in 2017 with the New York Jets when he recorded 50 receptions for 357 yards and three touchdowns.

He was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and spent three seasons there. However, after Seferian-Jenkins got a DUI early in the 2016 season, the team immediately released him.

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Seferian-Jenkins had a previous DUI arrest while in college, which led to him being suspended for one game while at the University of Washington.

With the Patriots, Seferian-Jenkins joins a tight end group that includes Jacob Hollister, Matt LaCosse, Stephen Anderson and Ryan Izzo.

Those five players have combined for 14 touchdowns in their NFL careers.

Meanwhile, Gronkowski’s 79 touchdowns are third-most in NFL history for a tight end.

The Patriots are expected to continue to bolster their tight end position in the upcoming NFL draft.

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Since Gronkowski (second round) and Aaron Hernandez (fourth round) were drafted in 2010, New England has drafted just three other tight ends, and none was before the fifth round.

Even though he is no longer a member of the team, Gronkowski celebrated with last season’s Super Bowl-winning team at Fenway Park on Tuesday.

He and other players were on hand to throw out ceremonial first pitches and to showcase the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the Boston fans.

Even though Gronkowski announced his retirement, his agent wouldn’t rule out him returning at some point next season.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
Location
Houston, Texas
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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