FOXBORO, Mass. — Rob Gronkowski has appeared in just one of the New England Patriots’ last three games as he recovers from ankle and back injuries.
And even in the games he has played this season, Gronkowski has not looked like his usual All-Pro self.
Typically the focal point of the Patriots’ offense, the star tight end has caught just 29 passes on 43 targets for 448 yards and one touchdown through the first nine weeks of the 2018 NFL season, with his lone score coming way back in Week 1.
Speaking with reporters in front of his locker Thursday afternoon, Gronkowski addressed his health, his status for Sunday’s matchup with the Tennessee Titans and his overall feelings about what he called a “challenging” first half of the season for him.
Question: How do you feel out there?
Gronkowski: “I feel good, for sure.”
Like, 100 percent?
“We don’t do percentages around here. It’s against the rules.”
Will you play Sunday?
“That’s up to the coaches. It’s a coach’s decision.”
Do you feel like you could?
(smile and shrug) “If Coach thinks I can go, I can go.”
Did you hit any setbacks after the Buffalo game two weeks ago?
“I’ve just been dealing with some stuff and just working the hardest I can every single day to get back to where I need to be. Just working with our trainers here and doing a little extra to get the body right. I’m just going day to day, taking it a day at a time just to get back to where I need to be.”
How much fun are you having this year?
“Just working hard. I mean, sometimes you’ve just got to put the work in and do what you’ve got to do.”
Has this been a difficult year for you?
“It’s been more challenging, but it’s just all the little obstacles in the way. It’s life. You’ve got to take them on. That’s what I’m doing. I’ve just got to get back to where I need to be and just be myself when I get back, and it’ll all be good. I’ve just got to take it on and work harder.”
Has it been hard for you to watch film of yourself this season?
“Sometimes, but it’s going good. It’s going good. I’m just working hard right now. That’s the track I’m looking at, and I just see positivity and I see it going strong in the future.”
Are your struggles easier to stomach given the team’s success?
“The team is doing great. We’ve got great guys around here, great teammates, and I can’t wait when I’m back, whenever it is, to be back out there and give it all to my teammates, to the coaches and give it all I have. They’ve been great, and it’s always great working with them.”
The Patriots currently are riding a seven-game win streak, and in the two games Gronkowski missed (Week 7 against the Chicago Bears and Week 9 against the Green Bay Packers), they scored 38 and 31 points.
Against the Bills in Week 8, Gronkowski was limited to just three catches on eight targets for 43 yards.