FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Some chatter surfaced surrounding New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski after he was spotted working with a strength and conditioning coach on a side field during the team's Monday afternoon practice.
It was the first time that the burly tight end, who remains on the physically unable to perform list, has been seen rehabbing outside and in front of the media. That led some to speculate that he was moving along in his rehab process and getting closer to a return. However, head coach Bill Belichick made it clear on Tuesday that Gronkowksi's work was the same thing he has been doing throughout camp.
"Same thing every day," he said directly. "For those of us who have been here, it's the same thing every day."
"He's been out here every day," Belichick noted. "He's been in camp the whole -- he hasn't missed a day of camp."
Gronkowski has typically arrived to practice in a T-shirt and shorts, appearing to have finished a rehab session inside the team's practice facility. The takeaway from Belichick was that while it was our first time seeing Gronkowski rehabbing, there is nothing to note on his progress. The setting of the workout was all that changed.
ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter recently reported that Gronkowski is unlikely to play in the team's first regular-season game, but what remains unclear is whether the Patriots will keep him on the PUP list, which would rule him out for at least the first six games of the season.
Keeping Gronkowski on the PUP would allow the Patriots to use his roster spot on another player who might bring more value during the tight end's continued rehab from a June back procedure.
Ultimately, Belichick said, the decision will come down to two factors.
"Every decision we make on a player comes down to two things, really: what's best for the player and what's best for the team," he continued. "When those are the same, it's easy; when they're not, then you have to -- something has to give. You have to make a call one way or the other."