Rob Gronkowski Happy to Be Wearing Football Pads, Says ‘It’s Just Awesome’ Practicing

by NESN Staff

September 4, 2013

It’s been a while since tight end Rob Gronkowski spoke to the media and on Wednesday the Patriots’ big man said all the right things.

Gronk, who has been practicing with his teammates this week in preparation for the Week 1 opener in Buffalo, isn’t expected to play until at least Week 3. That doesn’t mean he isn’t improving both mentally and physically, according to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe.

“Every day I feel better,” Gronkowski told a large scrum of media members in the Pats locker room just days before the season opener. “It?s just fun being back out there, putting the pads on. Just having them on makes me happy again. I love this game. I definitely miss the game of football, just going out and practicing with my teammates. I miss doing the grind with my teammates. I miss being out there with the coaches, everything. It?s just awesome to be back out there with the team and focus on getting things done.”

Gronkowski had offseason surgery on both his back and arm and many are wondering just how long it will take him to rehab back to 100 percent. Initially, there was a timetable of about 10-12 weeks for a return following his back procedure in June, but Gronk isn’t really concerned about timetables.

“It doesn?t matter what that says,” Gronkowski said. “It just matters how your body feels, how the rehab program is going, how you?re progressing every day. Just look forward every day. I?m not counting by since when my surgery was or that day I?m coming back. I don?t work like that. The trainers don?t work like that. We just work day by day.

“[I’m] improving a lot,” he added. “I’ve been improving since last week, I’ve been improving since three weeks ago.”

As for Sunday’s game, don’t expect the tight end to be out there hauling in passes from Tom Brady, but do expect Gronkowski to prepare all week as if he were planning to light up the Bills defense.

“Do I expect to play on Sunday? I’m preparing every single day to the max of my ability and preparing every day to the best I can,” Gronkowski said. “When my number is called, that’s when I’ll play.”

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