Thank God that’s over with.

The Patriots without Tom Brady was like macaroni without the cheese – immoral, and entirely confusing.

Not even getting into the reasons Brady was suspended in the first place, we’ve been seeing and hearing some extremely strange things coming out of Camp Foxboro in the past five-plus weeks. There was that odd five day stretch that started with Brady seemingly wanting to play in an exhibition game against Chicago but then he ended up not even dressing after supposedly slicing his thumb open while performing surgery on his cleats. He didn’t even show up to practice in the days that followed, and never disclosed the reasons for that. He only said he “had to take care of something.”

Then, there’s Rob Gronkowski’s past few weeks. Few had an inkling that Gronk had suffered a significant injury in practice against Chicago in August, but it must’ve been a doozy. A conservative projection when it comes to returning from a hamstring injury is six weeks. It has been nearly seven weeks now and all we’ve gotten from captain Gronk so far in the regular season is a couple of Michael Hoomanawanui – like performances.

Metro spoke with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Armin Tehrany, of Manhattan Orthopedic Care, last month about Gronk, and Tehrany said that the biggest thing with a hamstring injury is rest to prevent re-injury.

“A hamstring injury, if not treated properly with rest, can last up to six weeks for an athlete like Gronk,” Tehrany said. “It’d be much better for the team and for Gronk to only put him out on the field when he’s 100 percent to prevent re-injury to the hamstring. He needs to complete the season.”

Assuming everything’s on the up and up here, why was Gronkowski out there at all the past couple of weeks? I get that he’s a world-class decoy and was in primarily for blocking purposes, but you can absolutely injure (or re-injure) your hamstring in blocking situations. With Gronk and this injury in particular, it’s either you play him at 100 percent or not at all.

And finally, we get to the curious case of Jimmy Garoppolo. Multiple reports in the hours leading up to the Bills loss had Jimmy G not only playing in the game, but starting. There was even a report that the Patriots were pressuring Garoppolo to play in the Texans game 10 days earlier, so it came as a complete surprise that No. 10 didn’t even dress for the Bills game.

Now, most Patriots fans love the way Bill Belichick treats the media – routinely giving them nothing. And it’s entirely possible that the Patriots sent false reports out to confuse the media and the rest of the NFL. But it sure smells like something strange has been going on in the bowels of Gillette Stadium, interestingly enough involving three of the biggest names on their roster.


Those magical Boston Sundays

These used to happen all of the time in the mid-200s, but this coming Sunday we’ll have one of those classic Boston sports Sundays that make this the best sports city in the world.

Not only will Tom Brady be making his triumphant return against the Cleveland Browns at 1 p.m., but the Red Sox will be playing Game 3 of their ALDS against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park (start time TBA). There’s a possibility that both games will take place at the same time if the sports TV execs are interested in committing sports sin (can’t be ruled out).

A good example of how much fun these magical Boston sports days are: On Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, Brady led the Pats to a come-from-behind victory over the Saints in Foxboro, throwing the winning touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins with just five seconds left. A few hours later, David Ortiz hit a grand slam against the Tigers that sent Torii Hunter head over heels into the Red Sox’ bullpen, and the Sox eventually won Game 2 of the ALCS, 6-5.