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Belichick: Gronkowski 'cleared to play' -- no PUP

New England tight end Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to practice and play as he works back from a torn ACL.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been "cleared to play."

That was the short, sweet and easily biggest news to come out of Bill Belichick's morning pre-training camp press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday.

Rehabbing his way back from a torn ACL suffered last Dec. 8 against the Browns, Gronkowski did not take part on the field in New England's spring OTAs and mini-camp, instead working with the team's medical staff.

But he reported to Foxborough earlier this week with other injured players, rookies and quarterbacks and was cleared to return to the field. Therefore, PUP (physically unable to perform) is not an option either during the summer or the regular season.

"He's been here," Belichick said. "He's been cleared to play."

Belichick went on to praise his star tight end's work ethic, whether working back from injury or not.

"Rob's always worked hard," Belichick said. "He worked hard as a rookie. He's always worked hard."

Teammate Logan Mankins praised Gronkowski's work as a blocker and relayed that his fellow Patriots always like to see the big tight end in the mix.

"It's a positive," Mankins said of Gronkowski being cleared mentally. "We were all hoping Gronk would have a good recovery. So far he has. We'll just see where he is and how good he is right now. It's great to have him out there. He's a dynamic blocker. He does a great job in the blocking. And he's a big target for Tom [Brady] to get the ball to and he gets open.

"Any time you can have Gronk on the field it's good."

For New England, it's the best of news to open Patriots training camp 2014.


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