WOBURN — Rob Gronkowski was “feeling good” and back on the field Saturday, surrounded by lots of other football players.
No, the big tight end wasn’t on the practice fields at Gillette Stadium or with his Patriots teammates, but it was clear he was in his happy place. Gronkowski, who missed the three on-field workouts during this past week’s minicamp, confirmed he was a camper, just not an on-field camper.
“I’m doing other things. I’m participating fully with what the coaches have me doing,’’ said Gronkowski, taking a quick break from working with some 700-plus kids at his football clinic at Woburn High School. “We’re all good. We’re all on the same page.’’
Asked if he was held out of practices as a precaution, Gronkowski smiled and said, “I mean, I was present but I was doing other things as coach [Bill Belichick] would say, which is all good. I’m good.’’
Gronkowski was one of a handful of high-profile Patriots who weren’t on the field for minicamp, including receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, running backs Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount, and offensive tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer.
All of those players missed time because of injuries last season, so it’s reasonable to assume they were held out as a precaution.
Gronkowski missed one game with a mild knee sprain/bone bruise suffered against the Broncos Nov. 29, and also dealt with a back injury later in the season. Couple that with his importance to the Patriots’ offense and it’s understandable why he’d be kept under wraps.
Gronkowski, who looked free and easy as he interacted with the campers, jogging lightly and offering tips to the different groups, said he’s fully on board with how his offseason regimen with the Patriots is going.
“If I feel like it’s in the best interest for myself [and] at the same time, if I’m on the same page with whatever they want, [then] we’re all on the same wavelength,” said Gronkowski. “Everything’s going smooth. Everything is going good.’’
When asked if thinks he’ll be back on the field in time for training camp in the last week of July, an animated Gronkowski said, “Oh yeah.’’
Barring any more injuries — Michael Williams was lost to a torn ACL during minicamp — the Patriots have an impressive depth chart at tight, led by Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett, and Clay Harbor. The latter two got plenty of work and looked comfortable at minicamp.
In addition, second-year player A.J. Derby and rookies Bryce Williams and Steven Scheu are in the mix.
Gronkowski likes the group and is looking forward to working with them.
“They’re great guys,’’ he said. “Clay’s a great guy. Everyone in the group is a great guy. Marty B, he’s funny. He’s a great dude to have around, great football player. He’s going on what? Year nine, year 10 in the league, so you can definitely learn things off him.’’
Not only do Gronkowski and Bennett share similar skill sets, they share similar personalities.
“Yes,’’ said Gronkowski. “We’re funny together.’’