Report: Gronkowski to have back surgery, could be ready for training camp

New England tight end Rob Gronkowski will have back surgery on a disk in mid-June.

A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Gronkowski will undergo the surgery next month, which means he will miss the rest of offseason training activities with the Patriots. He could return for training camp at the end of July.

Gronkowski missed the 2009 season at the University of Arizona after back surgery.

Former New York Giants receiver Steve Smith announced his retirement from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Smith, 28, battled knee injuries the past three seasons that limited him to playing in 27 of 48 games.

Texans running back Arian Foster’s strained right calf will keep him off the practice field until training camp.

The Denver Broncos signed free-agent cornerback Quentin Jammer after striking out in their pursuit of safety Charles Woodson.

Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown reunited with the Cleveland Browns after a messy breakup. Brown, 77, was estranged from the only team he played with for several years after his previous role was eliminated by former president Mike Holmgren. He was welcomed back by owner Jimmy Haslam, who said Brown will serve as a “special adviser” and be active in community work.


FOOTBALL: The University of Maine announced former football coach Tom Lichtenberg died Sunday following a long illness. He was 72.

Lichtenberg coached Maine for one season, 1989, leading the Black Bears to a 9-3 record and the Yankee Conference championship.

The funeral service will be held June 8 in Sylvania, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, the Lichtenberg family requested donations be made to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. To donate, visit

The estate of the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno, and several university trustees and former players are planning to sue the NCAA over the landmark sanctions against the university for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

MEN’S BASKETBALL: It didn’t take Jason Collins to say he’s gay to compel Jallen Messersmith to make the same announcement.

Messersmith, a 6-foot-7 shot-blocking specialist from tiny Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., is believed to be the first openly gay active player in U.S. men’s college basketball.

Collins last month came out as the NBA’s first openly gay active player.


2020 SUMMER GAMES: Three months after being dropped from the 2020 Olympics, wrestling won a reprieve and made the IOC short list for inclusion in the games.

Also making the cut were squash and a combined baseball-softball bid.

Eight sports were vying for a single opening in the lineup. Eliminated from contention were five sports — karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and the Chinese martial art of wushu.

The IOC executive board will submit wrestling, squash and baseball-softball to the full IOC assembly for a final decision Sept. 8 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

— From staff and news services