NFL Notes: Patriots TE Gronkowski sets touchdown mark
Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots set the record for most touchdown catches in a season by a tight end, raising his total to 15 with two Sunday against the Washington Redskins.
The previous mark of 13 TD catches by a tight end originally was set by Antonio Gates in 2004, then matched by Vernon Davis in 2009.
Gronkowski’s record-breaking 14th score came on an 11-yard pass from Tom Brady with 5:49 left in the first quarter.
Then, on the opening drive of the second half, Gronkowski caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Brady, dragging linebacker Ryan Kerrigan along for a few steps before breaking free.
Goodell optimistic about HGH testing
Commissioner Roger Goodell is anxious for an agreement to allow human growth hormone testing in the NFL.
Goodell spoke with reporters after hosting a fan forum at Detroit’s Ford Field before Sunday’s game between the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings. The latest collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and union includes a provision to begin testing players for HGH – but it’s contingent on the union agreeing to the testing methods.
The NFL Players Association has asked for more scientific data to prove the most popular test is reliable.
Falcons’ coach Smith examined at hospital
Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith was expected to return to Atlanta on Sunday night after being examined in a Charlotte, N.C., hospital.
The Falcons said in a statement that Smith was examined for a “non-emergency matter” but did not release details.
Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff told Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC that Smith did not have a heart attack. Falcons spokesman Reggie Roberts would not confirm Smith was examined for chest discomfort.
Smith became ill and walked off the team plane after the Falcons’ 31-23 win at Carolina on Sunday.
The 52-year-old Smith is in his fourth season with the Falcons.