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Rob Gronkowski: ‘It was good getting acclimated out there’ 09.07.14 at 6:11 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski (87) had four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown Sunday in his return. (Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski (87) had four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown Sunday in his return. (Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — When Rob Gronkowski caught his first touchdown pass of the season from Tom Brady just 47 seconds into the second quarter, he unleashed his trademark spike and the Patriots went up 17-7.

Everything was going according to plan. He was getting his red zone opportunities in his first game back from his right ACL tear and the Patriots were dictating the pace of the game.

Then the wheels fell off in the second half. He appeared in just one of 13 snaps in the third quarter as the Patriots were outscored 23-0 in the second half, losing 33-20 Sunday in Miami.

“€œI mean it feels good to play football again, to be out there with the team,” Gronkowski said of his first action of any kin since last Dec. 8. “Being out there with your teammates, you win as a team, lose as a team. I just got to keep on improving every single week. I got a lot of things to work on. I got to keep working hard out there in practice.’€

And the knee?

“€œEverything feels good,” Gronkowski said. “I mean I feel good, so we’€™ll just keep on playing and have a good practice week, this week, and just got to keep working hard to get better. Definitely can improve in a lot of areas.’€

Gronkowski finished with four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown as Brady targeted him 11 times on the day, including in the second quarter when he broke free of Brent Grimes in the end zone, a classic case of Gronk using his size to separate and get open for a six-yard score.

“It always it feels good to get the first one,” Gronkowski said. “Just literally a little slant and [QB] Tom [Brady] scrambled and he scrambled and saw me going across the end zone and he hit me on the pass. I just got to keep on improving, keep on making plays like that. We got to make more plays, as a team and got to keep on improving.’€

As for playing just one snap in the third quarter, Gronkowski said it had nothing to do with his conditioning in the heat and humidity.

“We’ve been practicing in the heat a lot so that’s not it. They were just the better team out there today and got to give them credit. Whatever the coaches had. When they called the plays, that’s when I went in. I thought it was good, getting me acclimated out there and feel good. Just have to keep working hard this week.”

Gronkowski said the timing with Brady, as is the case with everybody else in a Patriots uniform, can improve.

“It was fine,” Gronkowski said. “I definitely can improve. That’s what practice is for and that’s what playing the game is for. I know we haven’t played in a game in a while but you can always improve in every area.”

“They just played better. They have a good team, they’ve got a good defense and we just have to go out there and play as a team better, make more plays definitely, including myself. They’re just a good team overall and we have to go out there and execute better.”

Read More: Gronk, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski
Mike Petraglia breaks down the Rob Gronkowski announcement that he’s ‘good to go’ for Sunday 09.01.14 at 5:17 pm ET
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FOXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia reports that Rob Gronkowski announced publicly Monday that he’s been cleared for NFL games. Gronkowski joked that he was happy to “break the news” himself, a bit of a rarity for a player to announce his readiness for game action for the 2014 season opener Sunday in Miami.

Read More: Gronk, Miami Dolphins, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski announces: ‘I’m good to go. I’ll be playing [Sunday]‘ at 12:36 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski has pronounced himself ready for the season opener. (Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski has pronounced himself ready for the season opener. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — It’s not often that a player gets to break news, but Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski broke some big news Monday before practice.

“Yep, I am [excited]. I’m good to go. I’ll be playing,” Gronkowski announced as he declared himself ready for Sunday’s season opener against the Dolphins in Miami.

This will mark the first game action of any kind since he tore his right ACL against Cleveland last December. Still, Gronkowski feels he’s fit enough to play a regular-season game.

“Super excited,” Gronkowski said. “Just seeing my teammates grind all week. Go back out there with them, get in the huddle, break the huddle with them. It’s going to be an honor to be out there with my teammates. Super pumped, super excited and just preparing for the game.

“I feel mentally and physically ready, for sure. No doubt about it.”

The news marks a stark contrast to 2013 when he and the team used a great deal of caution, protecting against a broken left forearm that would not heal properly. Gronkowski spent most of the first half of the season wondering exactly when he would feel comfortable enough taking hits in a game.

He eventually made his ’13 debut on Oct. 20 against the Jets. His season lasted just seven games when he was hit on his right knee by Cleveland’s T.J. Ward on Dec. 8, tearing his ACL. He had surgery on Jan. 9 and returned to full-team drills for the first time Aug. 18, did not play in the preseason.

Despite all of that, Gronk insisted Monday that he’d be ready to suit up and play Sunday against the Dolphins, a bit of an unusual declaration in an organization that usually guards the status of injured players like Fort Knox.

“Super excited, super pumped. I feel mentally and physically ready, for sure. No doubt about it,” Gronkowski said. “My mentality now is I’m ready to go, I’m ready to be out there, I’m ready to hit, I’m ready to start going.”

It should be noted that it wasn’t until his fifth game that Gronkowski played every snap. Likewise this time around, he doesn’t anticipate a full workload Sunday in Miami.

“Definitely not [playing] every single snap, but just get out there, get my feet wet, whatever coaches have, whatever we game-plan this week will be good,” Gronkowski said.

Gronkowski also insisted he will not be changing his reckless, physical style when he’s on the field.

“It feels good to be out here now this week, preparing for the Dolphins, knowing that I put myself in the best situation the last few weeks and few months to get back out here,” he added. “That was my plan the whole time, to work as hard as I could so I’d be ready for this week.”

Read More: Gronk, New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski,
Mike Petraglia breaks down Day 1 of Patriots-Redskins practices in Richmond 08.04.14 at 5:46 pm ET
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RICHMOND, Va. —’s Mike Petraglia assesses Day 1 of Patriots-Redskins practices, including the absence of tight end Rob Gronkowski and the performance of backup quarterback Ryan Mallett in Monday drills.

Read More: 2014 training camp, Gronk, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots
Monday Patriots practice report: No Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Bolden as Pats D steps it up against RGIII at 11:59 am ET
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RICHMOND, Va. — The Patriots and Redskins began their 2 1/2-hour initial scrimmage Monday morning under cloudy skies but by the time the haze burned off, it was a sunny, warm day with temperatures in the upper 70s.

The conditions expect to be much more intense Tuesday as the two teams will scrimmage again in the heat of the mid-afternoon here in Richmond.

Rob Gronkowski was not on the field as he continues to work his way back into full practice mode. To this point, the tight end has only been taking part in walk-through reps and individual passing drills in full pads.

Other Patriots players not taking part in the practice were special teams captain Matthew Slater, receiver Aaron Dobson, running back Brandon Bolden and center Bryan Stork.

Here are some quick observations from practice:

Tom Brady overthrew Kenbrell Thompkins on the first play of full 11-on-11 scrimmage. The pass was a route over the middle and Thompkins attempted to climb the ladder and would’ve been hit hard by the cornerback if it were in game conditions. Brady then was nearly perfect on the next three passes, two to Julian Edelman and one to Danny Amendola, as Edelman worked on D’Angelo Hall.

Brady felt heavy pressure in the pocket on the next series and stepped up and threw a bomb to wide-open Thompkins, who ran a post pattern.

Ryan Mallett continued to struggle badly with consistency. He made one sharp touch pass on a sideline pattern to Shane Vereen and an accurate pass over the middle to Justin Jones, but he threw two interceptions and overthrew Brandon LaFell on two other passes.

Rookie Jimmy Garoppolo also saw time against Redskins backups as he ran the second-team offense. He connected with D.J. Williams on one pass over the middle and found Brian Tyms down the right sideline in 7-on-7 drills.

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Read More: 2014 training camp, Aaron Dobson, Brandon Bolden, Gronk
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.

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Read More: 2014 training camp, Gronk, New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski on catching passes from Tom Brady: ‘It’s a dream come true again’ 07.25.14 at 5:48 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski has been through a lot of pain and misery over the last three seasons. Bum ankle, back surgery, forearm surgery, ACL surgery.

And those are just the major injuries the most popular target of Tom Brady has endured. That’s why he’s taking his time and being measured about his rehab, working closely with Patriots trainers to make sure that he’s a full go when he returns to game action, either in the preseason or – as he hopes – by the Sept. 7 opener in Miami.

But while he can’t take part in full 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills as training camp opens, he can run individual drills and work on his routes, especially where he’s most dangerous – in the red zone. Gronkowski has been running – and cutting – on the surgically repaired right knee without any noticeable limp, a good sign as he works his way back. He did it again on Friday, catching several red zone passes from Brady, as Bill Belichick looked on.

“It’€™s feeling good out there running routes and getting balls thrown [to me], and it feels great being out there with my teammates again, being in the huddle, catching balls from Tom Brady. It’€™s a dream come true again. It feels like it got taken away, and now it feels like I’€™ve got it back so it’€™s awesome.”

He even stood behind center and lobbed one to Brady.

“Yeah, we were just having fun,” Gronk said. “Maybe we’€™ll put that in after that throw. It wasn’€™t a spiral, but I’€™ve got to work on that.”

Gronkowski not only is sporting a black sleeve/brace on his right knee, he is still wearing a protective sleeve on his left forearm.

“I’€™m used to the arm brace,” Gronkowski said. “It’€™s been a year now wearing that, so it’€™s secondhand having that on. The knee brace just started, but it’€™s the second day out there, and I’€™m already getting comfortable with everything.”

After what’s he went through with the forearm going into the 2013 season, it’s natural to think Gronkowski will be more cautious. There have even been suggestions that the team (i.e. Bill Belichick) is sending a loud message that by being cleared for practice, they expect him ready once the season starts in South Florida. Does Gronk sense this?

“No, I don’€™t feel any pressure at all about that,” Gronkowski said. “I worked my butt off the last six months to even be here right now at training camp, throwing with all of my teammates. I made sure I was in there every single day, rehabbing every single day so I could come out here and be running routes on Day One. So it feels great to be out here on that note.

“If I’€™m just working hard every single day, improving every single day, giving it all I’€™ve got, listening to the trainers, listening to the coaches to get myself prepared, to get myself ready ‘€“ that’€™s all I can ask for. I’€™m putting pressure on myself to improve every single day and work hard every single day.”

Gronkowski said it’s a realistic goal to be ready for Week 1 against the Dolphins.

“I’€™m preparing myself to my max ability right now for the first regular game,” he said. “I can’€™t say anything from here on out because it’€™s far away. So, every single day I’€™m just giving it all I’€™ve got in the rehab room, out here on the field, improve my knee, strengthen it all around, prepare myself, listen to my trainers what they have for me so I’€™m ready to go when it comes down to it. And hopefully I am.”

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Read More: 2014 training camp, Gronk, New England Patriots, nfl
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