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Rob Gronkowski returns to Patriots practice, first appearance since pulling up Aug. 15 08.24.16 at 3:42 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski

FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since pulling up with an apparent lower body injury Aug. 15 against the Bears.

The Patriots star tight end went through individual football drills after stretching with the team, the first time he’s been cleared to do that since going out on a sideline route and pulling up lame when going up for a pass from Tom Brady.

Before practice, Gronkowski had some fun on social media, taking a jab at the Cowboys for lifting the “Do Your Job” credo from the Patriots of 2014. He tweeted, “Hmm, the Cowboys’ new slogan sounds familiar … What are your thoughts??? #DoYourJobGate.

The Patriots worked out in shorts and shells on the upper grass fields outside Gillette Stadium.

Among those missing were Shaq Mason, Jonathan Cooper, Alan Branch, Dion Lewis and Sebastian Vollmer.

Danny Amendola was again on hand for stretching but not with a helmet or shoulder shells, like the rest of the team, as he remains on the PUP list.

Amendola joined a group of Patriots that stretched and then went down the hill to the lower field to continue their work, separate from the team. Joining Amendola on the lower field were Malcolm Mitchell, Shea McClellin, Jabaal Sheard and Tre’ Jackson.

There was a special guest on hand as rock star Jon Bon Jovi attended practice and chatted with Patriots owner Robert Kraft during the media portion of practice. Bon Jovi’s music was playing on the speakers during stretching.

Bon Jovi’s former Arena League team, the Philadelphia Soul will battle the Arizona Rattlers this Friday in Arena Bowl XXIX at the same time Bill Belichick’s Patriots will play the Carolina Panthers in the third preseason game.

Read More: Gronk, New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski,
Report: Rob Gronkowski injury ‘minor,’ doesn’t appear concerning 08.15.16 at 10:29 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski

It wasn’t the best sight on Monday seeing Rob Gronkowski leave the practice field with a trainer by his side, but things don’t appear to be too serious.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Gronkowski’s injury is “minor” and there are “no worries.”

It’s still unclear what exactly caused Gronkowski to leave Monday’s joint practice with the Bears after coming up lame in a 7-on-7 drill when he went to jump for a pass thrown his way on an out route to the sideline.

After walking it off, Gronkowski spoke with Tom Brady before walking over to head trainer Jim Whalen and then exiting the field and not returning.

It will be interesting to see if the tight end will be on the field the rest of the week during the sessions with the Bears.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: 2016 training camp, Rob Gronkowski,
Mike Petraglia, Ryan Hannable talk Rob Gronkowski, Pats-Bears fights, what’s next at 6:54 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski was injured and left practice, and there were two fights on another very hot day the first day of joint practices for the Patriots and Bears. WEEI’s Mike Petraglia and Ryan Hannable have the details from outside Gillette Stadium.

Read More: 2016 training camp, Chicago Bears, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots
Patriots S Brock Vereen retires at 5:35 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots safety Brock Vereen was having a good start to training camp, but he won’t be on the field for the team again.

The safety has retired, according to the NFL transaction wire, as he was placed on the reserve/retired list on Monday. Vereen was drafted in the fourth-round of the 2014 draft by the Bears.

Vereen was released prior to the 2015 season and then signed on to the Vikings’ practice squad. He was then waived on Nov. 13 and then five days later he signed to the Patriots’ practice squad where he spent the remainder of the season before signing a futures contract.

He is the brother of former Patriots running back Shane and is 23 years old.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: 2016 training camp, Rob Gronkowski,
Rob Gronkowski leaves practice after pulling up short in 7-on-7 passing drills at 2:40 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Roughly an hour into Monday’s fully-padded joint practice with the Bears, tight end Rob Gronkowski pulled up at the end of a 7-on-7 passing drill. Shortly after that, he left the field with a member of the Patriots medical staff.

The tight end did not appear to be seriously injured — there was no reaching for a hamstring, for what it’s worth. After the play, when he finished his route, he stood off to the side by himself before he was seen speaking with quarterback Tom Brady. He was then escorted from the practice field, walking with a trainer all the way back to the locker room.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Rob Gronkowski,
Setting the scene: Patriots open preseason vs. Saints in oppressive heat 08.11.16 at 5:09 pm ET
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IMG_0017

Gillette Stadium will be hot for the Patriots preseason opener. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Mother Nature decided to turn up the heat and provide a conditioning test right out of the chute as the Patriots open the preseason against the Saints Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.

In a game that is expected to be missing Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski among others, game-time temperatures at 7:30 are expected to touch 87 degrees with 60 percent humidity, making it feel like 95 at kickoff. The temperature will fall to 80 by the end of the game.

The good news is that there’s no precipitation in the forecast for the game. But there will be precious little breeze either, with winds expected out of the south at 6-7 MPH.

The biggest storyline coming in figures to be the performance of Jimmy Garoppolo. The Patriots quarterback is being prepped to start the season opener Sept. 11 in Arizona in place of the suspended Tom Brady.

Chris Price has a complete run-down of what to look for in the game against the Saints.

Read More: 2016 training camp, Jimmy Garoppolo, Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
What we’ll be watching for in Patriots’ preseason opener vs. Saints at 10:04 am ET
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Will it be The Jimmy Garoppolo Show Thursday night against the Saints? (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Will it be the Jimmy Garoppolo show Thursday night against the Saints? (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Here’s what we’ll be keeping an extra close eye on when the Patriots meet the Saints in the preseason opener for both teams Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.

Who plays: Reportedly, Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman will not play. For the record, over the last 10 years Brady has sat for the first preseason game three times: 2014, 2011 and 2008. (For those of you projecting six months down the road, the Patriots reached the Super Bowl on two of those occasions.) As for Gronkowski and Edelman, both have consecutive-game preseason absences on the line. The big tight end hasn’t played in a preseason game since 2012, missing 13 straight. And Edelman has missed five consecutive preseason games dating back to last year. Not that it’s a huge surprise, but count on Danny Amendola, Dion Lewis and Sebastian Vollmer not to play as well, as they’ve been out of action to this point all summer.

Quarterback reps: As we have said all summer, not all reps are created equal. (That’s one of the reasons we’re not obsessively cataloguing who gets what opportunities every day when it comes to 7-on-7s.) Keeping in mind Bill Belichick’s directive at the start of camp that the goal was to make Jimmy Garoppolo as ready as possible for the regular season, it’s a sign that in this case, the value of preseason game reps trumps those in practice. For those of you wondering how much work is too much for Garoppolo, here’s a look at his preseason stat line from 2015.

vs. Green Bay — 56 snaps, 20-for-30, 159 yards, 1 INT
vs. New Orleans — 70 snaps, 28-for-33, 269 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
vs. Carolina — 33 snaps, 13-for-17, 126 yards, 1 TD
vs. NYG — DNP

One more note on Garoppolo: While the circumstances were different, it’s worth noting that the last time he started in the preseason, it was 2014 finale against the Giants. In that one, he went wire to wire, playing 69 snaps and finishing 22-for-42 for 284 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2016 training camp, Aaron Dobson, Bryan Stork, Chris Long
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