FOXBOROUGH – In general, Bill Belichick’s answer to any question pertaining to Rob Gronkowski’s physical and health status is a brief, “he’s day to day.”
But during his day-after conference call on Monday morning, Belichick gave a bit of an explanation in terms of the process of evaluating players from a medical and football standpoint, and what goes into deciding that a player is fit to be in uniform.
“I would say there are a lot of things that go into it, a combination obviously of medical clearance and making up the active (game-day) roster for the 46 guys,” he said. “Each week, we go through the process with all of the players and do what we feel like is best for the team. Obviously medical considerations are a big part of it, so we’ll do that with every player.”
Specific to Gronkowski, Belichick indicated it’s not rare for a player to be able to take part in on-field work Wednesday through Friday but still not be ready to contribute on Sunday.
Gauging a player’s fitness or readiness, “That’s what practice is for, part of it,” Belichick said. “But ultimately the players have to be cleared medically before we can put them in the game. There are a lot of players that practice that aren’t ready to play yet, but they’re able to participate in practice. That’s pretty common.”
It isn’t as common for the Patriots to have a player take part in practice for as long as Gronkowski has — he’s taken part every day since Sept. 2 — without getting into a game. But as Gronkowski has said ad nauseum, he’s taking things day by day.