During the brief window of practice that media were allowed to view, Gronkowski stretched, ran through a gauntlet drill, did footwork exercises, and worked on blocking in position drills. That last effort seemed to be not at full speed or full power. Gronk’s upper body does appear a bit leaner than when we last saw him in uniform, a result, no doubt, from his inability to lift weights normally for most of the past several months as he recovered from back and left forearm surgeries.
Also of note from practice Sunday:
…Three Patriots were not seen at the start of practice: cornerback
…New England entered the day with just 51 players on the 53-man active roster, but just prior to practice, it seems they bumped that number up to 52. A player on the Miami Dolphins practice squad announced via his Twitter account that he’d become a Patriot. Rookie defensive lineman A.J. Francis, formerly of Maryland, would be a much-needed depth addition at a position where the Patriots have been beset by injuries all summer. He was not at practice, but presumably is en route to Foxborough. The team has yet to announce his signing.
…It looks like the team’s eight-man practice squad is beginning to take shape as well, with at least three players who were cut yesterday suiting up on Sunday: linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, defensive tackle Marcus Forston, and defensive back Justin Green. There was another d-back wearing jersey number 36, but it was unclear if that was rookie Brandon Jones, who wore that number throughout camp, or some other player.
…Players are going to be made available for media interviews following practice, at around 4 p.m. EST.
UPDATE 5:10 P.M. EST
…Gronk came through the locker room after practice, smiled at the media, and promised he’d talk to us sometime this week, but not today. He was sporting a visible vertical scar, about two inches long, on his lower back along his spine, where his surgery took place.
…Fellow tight end
…Svitek walked through the locker room several times, each time sporting a black sleeve and brace around his right knee. He appeared to injure himself during the preseason finale against the Giants.
…During the media interview period in the locker room, several media reports indicated that the Patriots had made several more roster moves, including releasing Washington and Cole. New England is said to have added four players to the active roster: the aforementioned Francis, linebacker Chris White (late of Buffalo), and two o-linemen – Braxton Cave and Chris Barker. As of late Sunday afternoon, the team had yet to confirm any of these transactions.
…Undrafted rookie defensive tackle
…A pair of rookies who’ve made the 53-man roster changed jersey numbers. Linebacker