While some players might not like training camp, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is happy to be back on the field.
One of the biggest takeaways from the first day of training camp for the New England Patriots was seeing a healthy Rob Gronkowski back on the field.
Last season, the Patriots were able to win their fifth Super Bowl, but they did it without arguably their best weapon on offense. Throughout the season, Gronkowski was unable to stay healthy. After missing some time to start the season, Gronkowski also then had his season cut short because of back surgery.
Obviously, returning from back surgery is no easy task. However, through a lot of hard work and rehab this offseason, Gronkowski is able to participate in training camp with no restrictions. While some players might not be excited about training camp, Gronkowski certainly is.
"“I’ve definitely had a longer vacation than a lot of guys,” said Gronkowski to Mike Giardi of CSNNE.com. “I’d probably say I was the most eager to get going, to get rolling.”"
Last season, Gronkowski actually played very well when he was on the field. He was able to total 540 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. The 21.8 yards per catch that Gronkowski averaged was the best of his career.
Even though the Patriots didn’t practice with pads on Thursday, Gronkowski was still very happy to knock off some of the rust.
"“It’s football,” he said to Giardi. “Just when you’re feeling good out there and making plays you just want to have fun. That’s the whole game of football. Have fun out there, enjoy it and have competition. Competition is huge. That’s what gets you better. That’s what makes you better as a player. That’s what makes the team better — competition.”"
Gronkowski will have his chance to put on pads very soon for the Patriots. Moving forward, the Patriots will want to make sure that Gronkowski is healthy for the start of the season.
Even though the Patriots were able to replace Martellus Bennett this offseason, Dwayne Allen isn’t the same player as Bennett. While Allen can be a capable backup, the Patriots are a much better team with Gronkowski healthy and active.
With a healthy Gronkowski, the Patriots will have one of the most explosive offensives in the NFL. Gronkowski has always bounced back nicely after injury and the Patriots will be hoping to see that in 2017.