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Rob Gronkowski returns to Patriots practice

09.01.13 at 3:11 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski was back on the practice field for the first time all summer on Sunday afternoon as the Patriots practiced in full pads on the grass fields outside Gillette Stadium. Prior to Sunday, Gronkowski had been limited to only agility drills in sweats and shorts and had not been spotted in full uniform.

The tight end who has had three surgeries on his left forearm and another on his back in the offseason was taken off PUP on Saturday and placed on the active roster on Saturday before the 6 p.m. deadline.

Gronkowski was in full uniform Sunday afternoon and participating in drills, including running in warmups, agility drills through blocking pads and catching passes from a coach.

In his first practice back, Gronkowski was fourth in line for reps behind Michael Hoomamawanui, Zach Sudfeld and James Develin in TE/FB grouping was moving freely.

The tight end is eligible to play in the season opener next Sunday in Buffalo.

The only three players missing were cornerback Marquice Cole, running back/returner Leon Washington and offensive lineman Will Svitek. Defensive tackle AJ Francis was not spotted on the field. He was in Miami for a special teams meeting Sunday morning before being informed during the meeting that the Patriots had signed him to their active roster, putting New England at 52 players.

The Patriots also claimed a pair of offensive linemen off waivers – Braxton Cave from the Browns and Chris Barker from the Dolphins. In order to make room on the 53-man roster for both, running back Leon Washington was reportedly waived.

The Washington move was necessitated since both Cave and Barker must be signed to the active 53-man roster and after signing AJ Francis earlier in the day, the Patriots were at 52 players.

Also of note on Sunday, the Patriots had five extra players in uniform, presumably signed to the practice squad, including defensive tackle Marcus Forston and linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, both of whom were cut on Saturday but cleared waivers.

Read More: Buffalo Bills, Gronk, James Develin, Michael Hoomanawanui
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