INDIANAPOLIS – The Patriots made it through media day at Lucas Oil Stadium here in Indy among the usual assortment of colorful individuals keeping everything light. More than few lovely ladies were among those asking questions, as well as some costumed inquisitors and even a few children.
Among all the chaos there were a few items of note:
-First and foremost Rob Gronkowski arrived and was stationed at podium No. 1. He walked across the field without the aid of the boot he's adorned pretty much since the end of the Patriots victory over Baltimore in the AFC title game. In fact, he told reporters his left ankle would no longer need it.
"I don't know yet [if I'll be able to play Sunday]," Gronkowski said. "We're going day by day. Making new steps every day, feeling better every day. That's a positive sign and you just want to keep going in the right direction. I want to be out there with the team obviously. I want to help out the team obviously. Just taking it step by step, getting better every single day."
Gronkowski said the walking boot was gone for good, saying, "itt's off. No more boot." He also said he would spend Tuesday's off day with trainers.
Tom Brady was asked about the potential availability of his All-Pro tight end and was predictably excited over the fact that Gronkowski was no longer wearing the protective boot.
"Well he's obviously making progress, he's out of his boot today, which is making me feel better," Brady said. "I told him to write 'Hi Mom' on his sock, because there will be a lot of pictures today. ... No one is as tough as him, he makes our offense go. Hopefully we have him out there."
As for Sunday, Gronkowski stressed that it's too early to determine his status just yet.
"I'm not really worried about whether I'm playing or not yet," Gronkowski said. "That's on Sunday. The only thing I'm worried about is Tuesday, which is today, to get better today. Keep on improving today. Keep on getting stronger today, keep on progressing today. Just keep on moving forward, going in a positive direction. That's what counts."
Gronkowski dealt with several questions about the high ankle sprain before one in particular drew out his trademark good nature. When asked if he could describe the pain on a high ankle sprain, the tight end thought for a moment before answering "let me give you one."
Not that it pertains to anything in particular, but Gronkowski also indicated he attended Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz., as a fan. He was a freshman at the University of Arizona at the time.
-The Patriots were missing pair of tackles during their hour-long session. Tackles Matt Light and Sebastian Vollmer were absent due to illness, according to the team. Light was scratched from his appearance at a podium on Monday and replaced by Dan Connolly, presumably due to his health.
Vollmer, who Bill Belichick indicated on Monday had just gotten his cast off before the Denver playoff game, could be an important part of the team's game plan. If Gronkowski is limited, it could mean Nate Solder will be used more as a tight end, and if Vollmer is ready he could be back in his normal right tackle spot.
Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia indicated that Vollmer will in fact be on the field against the Giants in some capacity.
"He'll play. He'll play in this game at some point, whether we have Nate outside or him at tackle," Scarnecchia said, according to reporter WEEI.com's Christopher Price. "He's going to be out there, and thank God we've got him."
-Josh McDaniels was also not present as the team was not required to make an offensive assistant available during media day. The man he will replace next season, offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, drew a huge crowd for the entire session with several reporters asking about his future at Penn State.