But he rarely leaves the field when healthy.
He participated in 92 percent of the offensive snaps in the first 10 games this season. He played all 83 snaps in a 31-30 loss to Baltimore in the third game, and all 97 in a 31-21 win over the Denver Broncos in the fifth game, according to profootballfocus.com.
On Sunday, Gronkowski played just seven snaps then went to the bench with a look of pain on his face. He soon went to the locker room with team physician Dr. Thomas Gill. After the game, Belichick said he wasn’t sure whether Gronkowski had broken his arm and that the player had received medical clearance to play.
He declined to elaborate in a conference call Monday.
Asked if Gronkowski was “100 percent” for the game, Belichick said, “I covered that yesterday. He was cleared medically. I don’t have anything to add to it.”
The offensive staff will get a new member when Brian Daboll is added as an assistant. Belichick said Daboll, the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs under fired coach Romeo Crennel, would join the staff “going forward, similar to what Josh did last year but without any specific responsibility.”
McDaniels joined the Patriots as an offensive assistant before their first playoff game last year after serving as offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams. McDaniels then officially took over as New England offensive coordinator when his predecessor, Bill O’Brien, became coach at Penn State.
Daboll was a defensive assistant with the Patriots from 2000-2001 and wide receivers coach from 2002-2006.
He was quarterbacks coach for the New York Jets from 2007-2008 before becoming offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns for two years and the Miami Dolphins and Chiefs for one year each.
“Having another set of eyes with experience and (someone who) has a lot of understanding of our system and how we go about doing things, I think, is only a positive,” McDaniels said. “Every detail is very critical at this time of year and having another football coach on your staff to help is nothing but helpful.”