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Rob Gronkowski isn’t worried about targeting on his right knee: ‘I’m not more conscious about it’

07.29.14 at 11:44 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski has heard the rumblings that his surgically repaired right knee could be a target this season.

But he’s heard those rumblings before, even before his right knee was assaulted by a hit from Cleveland’s T.J. Ward last December.

“It’s the NFL,” Gronkowski said. “You’re hitting every single play, every single down. You an be hit anywhere. So, you just have to be aware of who’s coming at you, where they’re coming at you, you have to make your move, dive, get out of the way, you have to put your shoulder down. Whatever it is, you have to be prepared for anything. It’s the NFL. Everyone’s big, everyone’s fast and everyone can hit.

“Everyone knows that if you’re catching the ball, you can lit up at any time. Up the middle, anywhere, a guy coming from anywhere. You just have to make the play by looking at the guys around you.

“I’m not more conscious about it. Just go out there and do what I do and just basically try to make some plays and just get to the point where I’m not thinking about anything, and just out there and keep on rolling.”

Gronkowski practiced again in pads on Tuesday but was held out again from full 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 drills, instead continuing his work on individual drills, including red zone work with Tom Brady as Bill Belichick looked on closely. Gronkowski said he is really looking forward to the day when he can fully participate again in practice.

“It’s a lot different,” Gronkowski said. “Once you put the pads on, you’ve got to be well conditioned. It’s so much different running around, having all the equipment on. It adds a couple of extra pounds on your body and you’re not used to that. That’s what training camp is for, getting used to everything again and being conditioned and getting your body for the long haul of the season.

“It’s just tough always siting out, whatever drill it is, whatever period it is. You just have to keep working through, working hard so that when it comes down to it, I can be out there with my teammates in those drills.”

Most significant Tuesday was the acknowledgement that he won’t be playing in a game until he is cleared to take part in contact practice.

“Always expect to take a hit before you step out on the field before any game,” Gronkowski said. “You have to be prepared and ready and whenever that is. I’m obviously going to take some hits in practice before I step out on the field [for a game].

“The side work is going good. Getting used to everything I can do, getting in conditioning, which is my number one factor right now. If that’s what I can work on to the max, that’s what I’m going to be working on to the max, running around and getting my body used to everything and just working on individual, listening to my coaches, getting individual routes down and get my individual blocking down to the best of my ability that I can.

“I feel like I have been making a lot of improvement week to week, no setbacks, just every single week doing more, running more, putting more pressure on my legs so it’s coming along well and every single week, it’s about just picking up more.”

“Even doing walkthroughs or anything that with the whole offense as a whole, just getting timing down, getting Brady’s cadence down, getting off the ball with the tackle, getting off the ball with the wide receiver, everything like that, it all comes together, and it’s all big, just to be a part of it, even if you’re not a part of [the offense].

“As of right now, just listen to the trainers and whatever they have for me at practice, that’s what I’m going to do. We don’t have a timetable. Just take it day-by-day right now and just pick it up more and more.”

Read More: 2014 training camp, Gronk, New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski
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