The New England Patriots were hopeful that tight end Rob Gronkowski would be healthy enough to suit up Week 1. At the very least, as long as he could avoid the physically unable to perform list, that would be good enough for them. The Patriots got incredible news on Wednesday when it was revealed that not only would Gronkowski be ready to start the season, but he also has been cleared to participate in training camp.
“He’s been cleared to play,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said, according to CBS Sports. “Rob’s always worked hard.”
Gronkowski underwent ACL surgery at the beginning of the year after he suffered a horrific knee injury against the Cleveland Browns in Week 14 of last season. As Belichick stated, Gronkowski works hard. That is really the only explanation for how he is somehow ready for training camp. New England will have to take it slow with him at first, but the good news is he should not be a step behind once the regular season kicks off on Sept. 7.
The Patriots went from an average of 32 points per game when Gronkowski was in the lineup, which was good for second in the league in 2013, to an average of 24.6 points per game when he was unable to play, according to statistics researched by CBS Sports. That further proves how critical he is to New England’s offense, as well as, the overall success of the team in 2014. If quarterback Tom Brady wants to lead the Patriots to the playoffs, he will need his touchdown machine by his side.
Gronkowski hauled in 39 receptions for 592 yards and four touchdowns in just seven games last season.