Rob Gronkowski reportedly suffered a punctured lung Sunday, apparently when he took a big hit from Seattle safety Earl Thomas.

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New England tight end Rob Gronkowski reportedly suffered a punctured lung after taking a hard hit from Seattle safety Earl Thomas in the second quarter of the Seahawks’ 31-24 win Sunday night.

Gronkowski left the game for five plays after taking the shot from Thomas on a seam route in which Kam Chancellor also helped break up a pass from Tom Brady. Gronkowski then returned to play the rest of the game with the injury revealed on Monday via a report from But Adam Schefter of ESPN was told that Gronkowski did not suffer a punctured lung, according to a story on ESPN’s website.

Interestingly, the news of Gronkowski’s injury came just moments after Seattle coach Pete Carroll, during his regular weekly Monday press conference, marveled about the play made by Thomas, who at a listed 5-foot-10, 202 pounds gives up roughly 60 pounds on Gronkowski.

“The big hit that Kam and Earl contributed on Gronk, that was as perfectly legal and safe as you can make it,’’ said Carroll, who has long been at the forefront of teaching safe tackling methods. “That’s the way the game should be played right there. That was what we would refer to as a strike-zone hit. You saw Earl lead with his shoulder and protect both himself and Gronk from getting hit in the head.

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“That was absolutely the way we teach it and that was as perfect a play on a seam route as you can play. Kam knocks the ball down and, bam, here comes the hit. And unfortunately Gronk got rocked a little bit. But he bounced back and came back, but it wasn’t because he got hit in the head.

“Neither one of the players got hit in the head. Still, the jolt was significant. If we could show kids how to hit and play this game, that’s how you do it and it’s the new way of making hits and strike zone contact and you can hit guys as hard as you can and they can be very safe in that.’’

After the game, Gronkowski said he had the wind knocked out of him.

“That was a big hit for sure,’’ Gronknowski said. “Probably one of the hardest I’ve gotten in my career. It was a good, clean hit. Nothing against it. I just took it and it just knocked the wind out of me a little bit, that’s all.’’ Gronkowski called Thomas “a good fast player who’s like a missile.’

Said Thomas: “It just felt good because of the situation. They tried to look me off and I had a great break, I trusted myself. That was probably one of the best plays I’ve made in my career. It wasn’t a pick but it was technique sound, I trusted myself, I made a great play.’’

“He’s a bullet,’’ Carroll said of Thomas. ”He just took everything he had and hit him as hard as he could to make the play. Because he doesn’t know Kam is going to make that play on the ball because it’s such a bang, bang kind of a hit. He went for trying to break the pass up and that’s the right way to do it and the right place to hit it and all of that. He did give away quite a bit probably 50, 60 pounds.’’