Rob Gronkowski feels better after taking a few days off

AP

Rob Gronkowski’s still not ready for contact, but the Patriots tight end said taking a few days off has helped move him closer to that goal.

Gronkowski stayed behind while the team practiced with Washington last week, and said that time was beneficial.

“Just listened to the trainers, stayed back, just working out and stuff, getting in shape,” Gronkowski said, via Erik Frenz of Boston.com. “Basically, I went hard during the practices all last week and just a little time off to let the knee heal up a little bit more. You know, you can’t always be grinding on it 24/7 coming off an injury. You’ve got to let it heal. You’ve got to hit it hard and let it heal. So [there have been] no setbacks, I’m improving every single week [and] feeling better since the time off.”

There’s still no announced timetable for Gronkowski, who tore his ACL in December, but the Patriots are flying through tight ends lately. Michael Hoomanawanui and D.J. Williams have missed a few practices because of injuries, making it necessary to sign Ben Hartsock, Steve Maneri, and Terrence Miller.