New England Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski has been cleared for a return to football activities, announced coach Bill Belichick Wednesday. This comes as great news to the organization just one day ahead of the start of training camp. Gronk had been recovering from an ACL injury and will not be placed on the physically unable to perform list.
Belichick said Gronkowski has been around the team facilities working out and rehabbing. New England decided it was best to keep Gronk off the list because of the progress he’s made. “He would be ineligible [to appear on the PUP list] because he’s been cleared to play,” Belichick said while addressing the media.
Gronk suffered a torn ACL in Week 14 against the Browns last season after safety T.J. Ward delivered a devastating blow on a tackle in which he came in low. The fact that Gronk will begin camp with his teammates is a tremendous sign moving forward as the Patriots are considered one of a few Super Bowl favorites.
Veterans began arriving at Gillette Stadium as well Wednesday. They applauded the news, understanding Gronk’s importance to the success of the club.
It’s yet to be made clear what kind of activities Gronk will be to allowed to partake in. The training staff will likely start him off slow and progress him over time.
Nonetheless, Tom Brady‘s favorite target returning to the mix once again gives the offense a dominant downfield aerial threat. Gronk hauled in 39 passes for 592 yards and four touchdowns in limited time last year. We saw New England reinvent its offense in a way in order to compensate for his absence.
It’s no secret that the Patriots are a much more dangerous squad with Gronk healthy and on the field.
“Rob has always worked hard,” added Belichick. “He has always worked hard when he’s here.”