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New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski optimistic and progressing nicely

Tight end Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots tries to make a catch as strong safety Mike Adams #20 of the Denver Broncos defends during a game at Gillette Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots tries to make a catch as strong safety Mike Adams #20 of the Denver Broncos defends during a game at Gillette Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

New England Patriots tight end missed the team’s first preseason game against the Washington Redskins and is still limited in practice, but that may end soon. Gronkowski participated in limited practice on Sunday. Although he only took part in individual drills and one-on-ones with the defense, remains confident in his progression.

The Pro Bowler is still aiming to be on the field for the Patriots’ first game against the Miami Dolphins. His limited practice time was taken as encouragement as he was happy to have someone covering him during practice. Gronkowski said after practice, “I’m getting closer every single day to being with the team.”

It also gave him a chance to work against Darrelle Revis, which was counterproductive as it also gave Revis a chance to play against a bigger target. Revis also understands the work it takes to come back from a torn ACL. The work, although light, is definitely helping Gronkowski in his progression.

“Its good just to have a defender out there, instead of [me] just running my routes [against] air,” Gronkowski said Sunday. “To break off a guy right in front of you, just like it’s a game – you have to break off the guy, break off the defender. Having Darrelle out there and having him give me some contact – a little bit, pushing me on my routes – [it’s] just making me a better player out there right now.”

Not only is Gronkowski confident, be he is extremely optimistic about where he stands in his rehab. He is encouraged that there are “no setbacks” and is “improving every day.” The team is certainly hoping he continues to improve and is available once the season starts. As of now, the team and Gronkowski is just taking it “day-by-day,” and hopes by the time Week 1 is here, Tom Brady will have his full arsenal of weapons available.