Report: Rob Gronkowski to Start Season on Patriots’ 53-Man Roster, Avoid PUP

Rob GronkowskiThe loss of one may be the gain of many.

The Patriots cut veteran quarterback Tim Tebow on Saturday, but it may have been at the expense of keeping Rob Gronkowski active.

Gronkowski will start the regular season on the Patriots’ 53-man roster, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which is another positive sign in his recovery from offseason back surgery.

Gronk underwent four surgeries during the offseason, including minor back surgery in June, which saw him placed on the preseason physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list and unable to practice with his teammates. He has been present throughout Patriots camp, though, talking with coaches, teammates and watching practice from the sidelines.

There was much speculation about Gronk’s recovery timeline leading into the season, with most reports indicating he wouldn’t return until late September at the earliest. Saturday’s decision to keep the All-Pro tight end on the roster reinforces confidence that Gronk may return even sooner than that.

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