New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who tore his right ACL in a game against the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 8, has been cleared to participate in training camp and will not begin the season on the physically unable to perform list, Coach Bill Belichick announced Wednesday morning.
On Friday, Gronkowski told his Football 101 Women’s Clinic in Massachusetts that “I’m planning on playing the whole season this year.” However, he hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2011.
Gronkowski, who had 38 receiving touchdowns over his first three seasons, broke his left forearm in Week 11 of the 2012 season. He returned to play in Week 17, but re-injured the arm in the Patriots’ first playoff game that season. That injury became infected and he had numerous surgeries during the offseason. He also underwent back surgery in the summer of 2013, causing him to miss the Patriots’ first six games in 2013. He returned to play in seven games before tearing his ACL against the Browns.
“Rob’s always worked hard,” Belichick said, per Boston.com. “He worked hard as a rookie. When he’s here. I can’t speak to when he’s not here. It’s good to see all the players out there. And the ones that aren’t out there that are working to get back, we’re looking forward to getting them back.”
New England opens the season at the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 7.