If you're a Patriots fan, Rob Gronkowski in uniform at practice Wednesday was a sight for sore eyes. It remains unclear, however, why he wasn't able to suit up on Tuesday, after he'd been on the field Monday. The first injury report of the week is scheduled to be released shortly, which should give us a better idea of Gronkowski's condition.
Meanwhile, left tackle Sebastian Vollmer has now taken part in three straight padded sessions after incurring a left ankle injury against the Jets in Week 16 and sitting out the regular season finale at Miami.
When asked today how he was feeling, Vollmer simply replied, "Good," and grinned at the reporter who asked.
"Practice is important, injured or not," he added when pressed. "Every time you're out there, it's a good thing… It's the playoffs. I don't think anybody is 100 percent out there. It's a physical game."
The only Patriot not able to dress for Wednesday's session was rookie right guard Tre' Jackson, for reasons as yet unclear. He has been a regular participant in recent practices and games.
Gronkowski, meanwhile, is expected to address the media on Thursday, we've been told.
Low profile for Jones
Chandler Jones has also been present and accounted for all week at practice, despite having to be hospitalized briefly this past Sunday.
It remains unclear exactly what caused the Pro Bowl defensive end to seek emergency medical attention, but whatever it was, it has apparently not prevented him from fulfilling his obligations to the Patriots this week as they prepare to host the Kansas City Chiefs in Saturday's Divisional Playoff at Gillette Stadium.
"I certainly don't know enough to comment at all on that situation," co-captain Matthew Slater remarked. "I will say this: As a member of this team, we support all 50, 60 guys on this team. We have their backs, regardless of the situation, and that's no different with Chandler. He has our support. But as I said, I don't know enough about the situation, nor do I have the right to comment on that."
"Chandler has got a lot of great support in this locker room, and he is a great football player," added wide receiver Danny Amendola. "I'm excited to see what he does [against Kansas City] this week."
Meanwhile, town officials from Foxborough, where Jones lives and initially sought help from police, have issued a statement about the incident, which read, in part, "[W]e are currently in the process of assembling and reviewing all documents and information in the Town's possession relative to this response action and we will be discussing the same with legal counsel prior to releasing any documents or further statements in this regard... A more detailed statement pertaining to this medical assistance response will be provided as soon as possible."
Jones has not spoken to reporters this week, nor has he even been seen in the locker room during the daily media interview period.
See you LA-ter
Aside from the ongoing playoffs, the biggest story in the NFL this week is the return of NFL football to Los Angeles. Owners approved the Rams' proposal to move back to their city of origin, and the Chargers or Raiders could soon join them as part of the agreement.
For now, though, the only certainty is that St. Louis will lose the Rams to the city from whence they came.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft was instrumental in the negotiations, as a member of the NFL's committee on relocation to L.A., but no one in the Patriots organization has a closer personal tie to the L.A. Rams than Slater. His father, Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Jackie Slater, played 20 years for Rams, nearly all of them in Los Angeles. Son Matthew was raised in the L.A. area and played college football at UCLA.
"It's very interesting," he said of the team's move back to Southern California. "Obviously, a lot of people are excited about that. I think my dad's pretty excited about that, but, you know," he added with a grin, "I've had to cancel my subscription to the Rams' fan club. I cancelled it eight years ago [when I became a Patriot], and last I checked, it's still cancelled."
Slater and the Patriots will host the once-and-future L.A. Rams later this calendar year during the 2016 regular season.