BOSTON (CBS) — Opposing defenses are officially on notice: Rob Gronkowski is feeling healthy.
“Hundred percent, good to go,” Gronkowski said Monday at the opening of Patriots minicamp.
Gronkowksi, who underwent back surgery last season and missed the final five regular-season games and all three postseason games, said he has no physical restrictions as the 2017 season begins in earnest.
The 28-year-old referred to his third back surgery only as “a little setback” and said he never had any doubt that he’d be returning to his NFL career this season.
“It’s always important whenever I get a little setback like that that happened, just to get back to where I need to be. And I feel like I am. Doing everything out here, competing, and it’s fun,” he said. “Feeling great. Everything went super well. Just out here, whatever coaches have us doing, just doing whatever they need us to do.”
One-hundred percent health is not the only change for Gronkowski this season, as he and the team worked out a restructuring of his contract. The deal essentially rewards Gronkowski if he can stay on the field and perform, but he said that even with the new financial stakes, his regular goals don’t change at all.
“I’m definitely very thankful for the opportunity that the Patriots organization gave me. Just gotta keep working hard and do what’s best for the team, do what’s best for myself to help out the team in any way possible,” he said. “I’m always trying to perform. I always want to get better every single year. I want to get better every single week. I’m always motivated, no matter what the circumstances are. I’m always motivated just to get better as a football player. I love playing the game and whenever I have the opportunity to get step out on the field, I just want to get better on the field.”
Beyond a healthy Gronkowski, the Patriots added Brandin Cooks, Dwayne Allen, Mike Gillislee and others to an offense that already was one of the most dominant forces in the NFL. But for as much as outsiders might be praising the potential of that offense, Gronkowski said he looks at it much more simply.
“We always got a lot of things to work on, especially myself. We feel like as a team we need to get better every single day,” he said. “I mean, personally, I don’t look at how good we are on paper. We’ve got to step up on the field and practice hard every day.”