By Levan Reid, WBZ-TV SportsBy Levan Reid

FOXBORO (CBS) — Having Gronk out here at practice for the first two days of the regular season gives the Patriots a little breathing room. I think many people feel they will win their division, but to be a Super Bowl contender, they need to get 87 up and running as soon as possible.

So far, this is only practice for Gronk, and he’s only been participating in light drills. He can get all the conditioning in the world, but once he gets out there on the football field, that’s when we will really take notice.

He needs to fall on that forearm and take hits to that back, and it has to happen repeatedly. Gronk’s game is speed and being physical. The sooner he gets back to that, the better.

My original expectations had him on the PUP list, and he obviously beat that. So now I’m shooting for Week 4. It’s hard to think he’ll start the season against Buffalo and then play again just days later, against the Jets on a Thursday night. Week 3 or 4 is my guess, and I’m going with 4.

Follow Levan Reid on Twitter @LevanReid.

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