While several injured players were making their return to Patriots practice on Monday, tight end Rob Gronkowski was taking another step forward in his own return from a torn ACL.
Gronkowski participated in 11-on-11 drills for the first time since training camp opened last month. Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com reports that a lot of balls were thrown Gronkowski’s way during that period of practice.
Recent reports out of New England are that Gronkowski is anything but a lock to play in the team’s first regular season game. Given the amount of time Gronkowski missed the last two seasons and the impact his absence had on the team, it would be no surprise to see them exercise plenty of caution before signing off on a spot on the gameday roster.
Still, 11-on-11 work is as close to game action as Gronkowski will get this offseason so it’s an important step closer to to his and the Patriots’ goal.