Quarterback Tom Brady made his preseason debut Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles, but he took the field without one of his favorite targets.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski — who has yet to take a snap this preseason — remained sidelined during the Patriots’ 37-20 win over the Eagles. The 29-year-old told reporters Sunday at Gillette Stadium he doesn’t know if he’ll see any action during New England’s third preseason game Friday against the Carolina Panthers.
“It’s always a coach’s decision on whether or not I’m playing in these games or not,” Gronkowski said. “I’m ready at all times. Whatever it is this week, I don’t know the situation, but I’m ready to play. If I have to play, I’m ready to do whatever I get asked. I’ll prepare all week like I’m going to play, like I do every other week.”
Gronkowski played in two preseason games last year, recording one catch for nine yards against the Detroit Lions in Week 3. Although he and Brady are headed into their ninth season together, he said playing in preseason is “always beneficial.”
“You always want practice reps, and no matter how good you think you are or how great the chemistry you think it is,” Gronkowski said. “You can always get better, no matter what. There’s always so much detail in football that, no matter what, you can get better. Even if you think you have it down, you can keep working to get better.”
With wide receiver Julian Edelman suspended for the first four games of the regular season, Gronkowski will likely be on the receiving end of more of Brady’s passes. He started 14 regular-season games last season, logging 69 catches for 1,084 yards.
“I would say we’ve got some good chemistry over the years, but we’re always working on it,” Gronkowski said of his on-field relationship with Brady. “We’re always looking to improve, and we’re always looking to get better.”