Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was so excited about being cleared to play in the season opener against Miami that he took it upon himself to announce to reporters he’d be playing on Sunday.
On Tuesday, coach Bill Belichick tempered that excitement in his weekly conference call when he was asked what he saw from the Patriots’ tight end that led to that decision.
“I’m glad that Rob is optimistic about his situation,” Belichick said. “We’ll go through the week of practice and take a look at everything and everybody.
“With all due respect to Rob, I’m glad he feels the way he does, but in the end, we’ll have to make the decision we feel is best for the team.”
It’s impossible to predict how much Gronkowski will play Sunday until he actually steps on the field.
It’s possible he could be on a snap count or he could have a standout performance like he did in his 2013 return, making eight catches for 114 yards in a Week 7 loss to the Jets.
Nonetheless, it was an intriguing response from Belichick. Gronkowski said Monday he broke his own news to avoid answering questions all week.
On Tuesday, it seemed as if Belichick was backtracking on Gronkowski’s comments in order to mask how much the tight end will play.
Later in the conference call, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was asked about Belichick’s comment and elaborated slightly more on the situation.
“Rob’s been practicing and we’ve been out doing some different things, building our offensive systems and packages as we go,” McDaniels said. “Whatever we can, or are available to use him to do, however big, small, whatever the decision is at the end of the week, he’ll be ready to do it.
“We’re going to try and do what we think is the right thing to do to win the game this week. That would encompass the way we try to use all of our guys.”