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Sports

October 24, 2013

Gronkowski ready to focus on football, not health

FOXBOROUGH — Rob Gronkowski says he no longer wants to discuss his health.

After making his season debut Sunday against the New York Jets, catching eight passes for 114 yards in the Patriots’ 30-27 overtime loss, Gronkowski finally is ready to put behind him all those questions he was asked about injuries and timetables.

“You always get the jitters the first game back and everything. It’s just football now,” he said. “This is my fourth year. I’ve got to just go out there and do what I’ve got to do, listen to the coaches, listen to the players and just practice to the best of my ability so I can be ready for Sunday, and keep a rhythm going every single week.”

Gronkowski missed the first six games of the season following surgeries on his back and broken left forearm, but made an immediate impact against the Jets. He was targeted a team-high 17 times and nearly made a spectacular one-handed grab that likely would have led to a touchdown.

He said yesterday he was a bit tired during his first substantial game action since Dec. 30.

“Just every week, out at the practice field just trying to improve my game, and by improving your game it’s improving your condition, improving your strength, improving your routes, improving your blocking,” Gronkowski said. “Every week just going out there working hard, working to the best of my ability to get where I need to be for that Sunday.”

Gronkowski sported a large, black brace along most of his left arm Sunday and said he plans to wear it for the entire season.

“I wear it in practice. Got to get used to it,” he said. “It’s second nature. The brace is there and I’m used to it, so it’s cool.”

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