FOXBORO — Less than 24 hours after reports that it was “highly unlikely” Aqib Talib would play on Sunday against the Jets with a hip flexor strain, the star cornerback was back on the upper grass practice fields on Friday morning. Talib missed practice Wednesday and Thursday before surprisingly showing up on Friday.

FOXBORO — It appears Rob Gronkowski has finally been cleared to return to action.

Multiple media outlets are reporting that they have been told by his agent Drew Rosenhaus that Gronkowski – and his surgically repaired left forearm – has been cleared by Dr. James Andrews.

“Rob has now been cleared by all his doctors to play Sunday in the Jets game,” Rosenhaus told multiple reporters Friday morning via text message.

FOXBORO — Aqib Talib will be missing his first game of the season Sunday, according to a report from Pro Football Talk.

A hip flexor strain will likely keep the most valuable player in the secondary to this point of the season out of Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium. Quoting a league source, PFT says the cornerback is unlikely to play due to the injury against the Saints.

FOXBORO — Dan Connolly returned to practice Thursday and was limited with a concussion while another offensive lineman, Marcus Cannon, showed up limited for the first time this week with a shoulder issue. In all, four players missed Thursday’s practice while nine were limited in sweats and shells outside Gillette Stadium as the Patriots continued on-field preparations for the Jets Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski made one thing perfectly clear Thursday. Whenever he returns, it will be a group decision.

Gronkowski said when he does return it will be a decision made in conjunction with the team’s medical staff and coach Bill Belichick.

Rob Gronkowski‘s agent Drew Rosenhaus said Thursday that his client hasn’t received medical clearance to play, and expressed surprise that the tight end’s situation has gotten as much attention as it has.

“I don’t understand why this story has gotten so much traction. There are dozens of players around the NFL who aren’t playing because they are injured and coming back from surgery,” Rosenhaus said while appearing with Joe Rose on WQAM-AM 560.

FOXBORO -- For the Patriots, the challenges keep on coming.

FOXBORO — Cornerback Aqib Talib, wide receiver Danny Amendola, running back Leon Washington and defensive lineman Tommy Kelly were not spotted at the start of Patriots practice Thursday morning on the fields behind Gillette Stadium, marking the second consecutive day all four players were absent.

Rex Ryan made headlines the day late in Jan. 2009 he was hired to take over the Jets. He boldly proclaimed he didn’t come to the AFC East to “kiss” Bill Belichick‘s Super Bowl rings.

Well, since New York’s stunning playoff win in Jan. 2011, it’s been Belichick who has had the upper hand over Ryan, winning the last five encounters, including a 13-10 decision on Thursday night in Week 2.

Still, Ryan said Wednesday, he’s still not about to bow before Belichick.

FOXBORO — The NFLPA is demanding the Patriots pay accused murderer Aaron Hernandez millions of dollars from his five-year, $40 million contract.

According to the Boston Herald and, the NFL Players Association has filed two grievances this week against the team on behalf of Hernandez, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd in June.