Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was the only player not seen at practice Tuesday, a notable departure from his very visible rehab stint on Monday.
Beforehand, head coach Bill Belichick was asked for an update on the health of his star tight end, who's been working his way back from offseason surgeries to his left forearm and back. Belichick seemed to bristle at the line of questioning, insisting that Gronkowski "hasn't missed a day of camp" and "he's been doing the same thing every day" – the latter a line the coach repeated several times for emphasis.
Gronkowski may, in fact, have been doing rehabilitation exercises behind the scenes all summer long, but the reporter's point was that those activities were not visible to the media. Gronkowski's participation on Monday – running through exercises on a separate field with a football in his hands at times – was in full view of the media and a significant change to his previous on-field appearances this summer during media viewing periods.
Some media misreported that fact, however, indicating that Gronkowski had returned to "individual drills" at practice, which was not the case. That wording would imply that Gronk was suited up and participating with the rest of his teammates, which would be a violation of the rules of the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, where Gronk currently resides.
In actuality, Gronkowski was wearing only shorts, a t-shirt, and his trademark receivers gloves, while the rest of the team was in full pads. Nothing he did during the media portion on Monday was in violation of PUP rules.
It was curious, therefore, for Gronkowski to have been conspicuously absent on Tuesday.
Also of note from today's session:
…When the team finished stretching and broke up into position groups for individual drills, defensive end Jermaine Cunningham retreated again to that same lower field where Gronkowski had been yesterday to work on rehab exercises with the strength and conditioning coaches. Cunningham and rookie receiver Mark Harrison were the only two players rehabbing during the media portion at the start of practice.
…Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard did not go down to the rehab field on Tuesday after having done so on Monday. There was also no sign of first-year defensive lineman Armond Armstead, who was a spectator during yesterday's session on the rehab field.
…New England made two more transactions before practice to comply with the league's deadline to cut the 90-man roster down to 75. The team released rookie tight end Evan Landi and rookie defensive lineman Anthony Rashad White.
…Players are scheduled to conduct media interviews after practice, around 5 p.m. this afternoon.
…This evening, the team will host its annual charitable foundation gala, which has been renamed "Patriots Premiere." During the event, the Ron Burton Award will be presented to the Patriots player who best served his community in charitable endeavors over the past year. Rookies will be in attendance sporting their traditional initiation haircuts (intentionally bad buzzes given them by the veterans).