It looks like New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will have one of his favorite targets available for Sunday’s game against Miami. Rob Gronkowski, who spent the better part of last season injured and off the field, says he’s “good to go” for the Week 1 Dolphins game.
News of the Patriots Gronkowski cleared to play was surprising for two reasons. First, the news was delivered by Gronkowski himself on Monday as the tight end wanted to avoid fielding “will you or won’t you?” questions all week.
Normally the Patriots play their lineup cards much closer to their chest. And the news is almost never delivered by a player himself.
Second, Gronkowski returned to practice for the first time just three weeks ago, on August 18. He didn’t play at all in the Patriots’ preseason games, so it’s still a bit unknown how his injured knee will respond in actual game action.
Gronkowski underwent surgery for a torn right ACL on Jan. 9. That ACL injury followed a forearm injury that sidelined him for some time. The forearm injury didn’t see him play every snap until his fifth game back.
Since the tight end didn’t see any playing time in the preseason, he could still be listed on the Patriots’ injury report, which will be released Wednesday afternoon.
For the time being, though, the Patriots Gronkowski cleared to play is great news for Tom Brady. Last season Brady struggled with a young receiving corps, verbally and at times physically expressing his frustration. With Gronk back on the field, the Patriots have an even more dangerous passing game.
Gronkowski on Monday was realistic in his outlook for his first game back this Sunday against the Dolphins.
“I feel mentally and physically ready, for sure. No doubt about it,” he told reporters Monday. “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.”
However, he then said he would “definitely not [be playing] every single snap.” Instead, he said he intends to “just get out there, get my feet wet,” and follow the game plan established by head coach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo.