The New England Patriots have done just fine without Rob Gronkowski.
On Sunday, they'll see whether that continues or if their valuable tight end's absence will keep them from a second straight Super Bowl appearance.
Michael Hoomanawanui filled in well enough after Gronkowski broke his left arm on the Patriots' seventh offensive play of their 41-28 win over the Houston Texans in Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game. He'll probably do it again in the conference championship game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Gronkowski had season-ending surgery Monday, a person with knowledge of the operation said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the surgery.
Hoomanawanui didn't catch any passes. But Gronkowski, who had 90 receptions last season and 55 in 11 games this season, had no catches in the Patriots' two games against Houston this season. And they dominated both contests.
Gronkowski was sidelined for the 42-14 rout on Dec. 10, the third of five games he missed after breaking his left forearm while blocking on an extra point late in a 59-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 18. The Patriots went 4-1 in his absence.
The Patriots also played without running back Danny Woodhead on Sunday after he hurt his thumb while running with the ball on their first offensive play. Former Cal star Shane Vereen stepped in and scored three touchdowns -- two on receptions and one
Woodhead returned to the sideline but never got back in the game, although coach Bill Belichick said Monday that he could have played.
Panthers: A person familiar with the situation says Carolina interviewed Pat Shurmur and former Raiders coach Hue Jackson for its vacant offensive coordinator position.
The Panthers are looking to replace Rob Chudzinski, who left to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns last week, replacing Shurmur. Jackson, currently an assistant coach with the Cincinnati Bengals, was the Raiders' head coach in 2011.
Eagles: Former Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt interviewed with Philadelphia as the team's search to replace Andy Reid entered its third week.
Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is scheduled to return Tuesday for a second interview.
The Eagles also were scheduled to interview Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden on Monday, bringing the total number of known candidates to 11.
Bears: Seattle coach Pete Carroll said offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Bradley were "heading toward second interviews" for Chicago's head-coaching job.
ESPN, citing sources, reported the Bears also will conduct a second interview with Marc Trestman, head coach of the CFL's Montreal Alouettes.
Colts: Indianapolis hired Jimmy Raye as its new vice president of football operations. He replaces Tom Telesco, who was named San Diego's general manager late last week. Raye spent the last five seasons as the Chargers' director of player personnel, where he was in charge of the team's pro and college scouting departments and assisted with player personnel matters.
Belcher case: Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit when he shot his girlfriend nine times and then killed himself in front of his coach and general manager, an autopsy released Monday showed.
The Jackson County Medical Examiner report on Belcher, 25, raised new questions about whether police should have done more before the Dec. 1 murder-suicide. Officers found Belcher sleeping in his idling car about five hours earlier but let him go inside a nearby apartment to sleep it off.
At the time of the autopsy, Belcher's BAC was 0.17, more than twice the limit of 0.08 percent for Missouri drivers, and it was likely higher when he shot girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, 22, at the couple's Kansas City home.