FOXBORO — The Gronk was back in rare form Friday.

Rob Gronkowski held court on a sunny Friday morning after his second practice of training camp, announcing that he plans to make a fearless return to the field this season and put a string of injuries behind him. The most recent, of course, came on Dec. 8, 2013 when T.J. Ward drilled him in the right knee, causing a tear of his ACL and a subsequent knee reconstruction.

Gronkowski said that, while he won’t likely participate fully when he puts on pads with the rest of his teammates Saturday, he will be prepared mentally for the first game, whenever that comes.

“I’m pretty sure I won’t have any fear at that moment because that’s what we’re working here for, getting myself right, getting my knee right, getting everything strengthened around it so when I do hit the field, when I do start hitting, when I do start getting tackled, I’m out there ready to go [and] I’m not thinking about that in the back of my head,” Gronkowski said. “It’s a slow progression. I’m just working every single week to get to that progression, and hopefully and it comes down to where I’m ready and I’m ready to roll and I’m good to go and I’m out there for my teammates. I want to be out there for my teammates and give it all I got and make some plays for them.”

As for being at full strength, Gronkowski cautioned that there is still plenty of work remaining before that hurdle is cleared.

“If it were 100 percent, I’d be doing every single thing so no, I’m not 100 percent right now, obviously not,” Gronkowski said. “I’m working my way to get to that and I’m working every single day to get to that and improving every single day.

“I’m preparing myself to my max ability right now for the first regular game. I can’t really say anything from here on out because it’s far away. Every single day, I’m just giving it everything I’ve got in the rehab room and out here on the field. I’m preparing myself and listening to my trainers, what they have for me so that I’m ready to go when it comes down to it. Hopefully, I am.

“No timetable at all. Just keep improving every single day and we’ll see what the trainers want me to do. They’ve been through plenty of knee injuries throughout their years here.”

If you think he plans to change his style in light of ankle, back, forearm and knee injuries that have knocked him out of 17 of his last 26 games since 2012, think again.

“Nah, I ain’t changing that one bit,” Gronkowski said. “I’m going to go full speed when I’m out there and I’m going to keep smashing and dashing in everything I do. Maybe if it’s not necessary one single bit I’ll go down [to the ground]. But if I can make some plays and make some extra yards and get in the end zone, I’m definitely going to go full speed and do everything I can.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman checked in with Middays with MFB on Friday from training camp in Foxboro. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Edelman is looking to build on a breakout 2013 season, as he caught 105 passes for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns.

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman checked in with Middays with MFB on Friday from training camp in Foxboro. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Edelman is looking to build on a breakout 2013 season, as he caught 105 passes for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns.

“What happened last year happened last year; what happens in the future happens in the future,” Edelman said. “I’m just kind of worrying about the present right now, taking advantage of coming out here each and every day and trying to improve and work on my fundamentals and earn my spot.”

Tom Brady was the focus of some criticism in the offseason for his alleged decline in play. Edelman said that kind of talk won’t be a distraction to the team.

“Around here we ignore noise, and we don’t believe the hype,” Edelman said. “You’d have to ask Tom on that. I’m sure he can answer that. I tell you right now, I’m glad that we have 12 as our quarterback. I wouldn’t want to have any other guy.”

Asked what it takes to succeed with Brady and the Patriots system, Edelman said: “Through my experience it’s just being consistent. You can’t make a mistake twice. You have to be able to take things from the classroom, translate that to drills, translating that to practice. When you do it in practice it becomes a game execution. Just going out there and being consistent, not having up and down days, staying on top of your stuff, being focused in the classroom. Consistency is pretty much the main thing.”

Rob Gronkowski was cleared to practice with the team for the start of training camp, surprising many who expected the standout tight end to need more time to recover after suffering a season-ending torn ACL in Week 14 last year.

“Anytime you see No. 87 on the field, you know you’re going to have a big smile,” Edelman said. “He helps this team a huge amount. I’m sure he’s going to be working on what he has to do in order to make him good. I’ve got to do what I have to do, and everyone has to do what they have do. So I’m just going to keep on working on my job, and I know Rob’s going to be working on how to do his.”

Edelman engaged in some pushing and shoving with defensive back Kyle Arrington during Friday morning’s practice, but he played down the incident.

“It’s just two guys being competitive and just trying make each other better,” Edelman said. “You know how it goes, as a competitor everyone’s just trying to get out there and improve on their stuff. He was trying to do his and I was trying to do mine. We just, we competed.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

FOXBORO — The Patriots just wrapped up their second training camp session of the summer on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. The workout was held in shells and shorts, and ran for roughly two hours in beautiful summer conditions. Here are a few quick notes.

– Wide receiver Aaron Dobson, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, special teamer Matthew Slater, defensive lineman Tommy Kelly, defensive lineman Dominique Easley, linebacker Deontae Skinner, offensive lineman Chris Martin and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon were among those standing off to the side and going through rehab work. The only player who was missing Friday who was on the field Thursday was defensive back Jemea Thomas.

– Before practice, the team engaged in a time-honored camp ritual, the “pig drill,” a workout held under the guise of ball security. Rookies were forced to slop around in the mud diving for the football. It was a far more muted version than they’ve had in the past — in previous years, quarterback Tom Brady took great delight at turning the hose on first-year players.

– It was another good day for Kenbrell Thompkins, who appeared to spend the bulk of his morning working with a reasonable facsimile of the No. 1 offense. He had some impressive connections with Brady, including a play where he had a sweet diving catch on 7-on-7s. As was the case on Thursday, it’s debatable how many opportunities he would have had it Dobson was on the field. But for the second straight day, he did a nice job making the most of his chances.

Rob Gronkowski was working in team drills, and got some individual work with Brady, but didn’t appear to take part in any 7-on-7s or 11-on-11s. As was the case on Thursday, it didn’t look like there were any questions when it came to his running and cutting.

Logan Mankins took a lap early in practice for what looked to be a false start. In addition, Jimmy Garoppolo and Brandon Bolden took a lap for botching a handoff. (On both occasions, the crowd cheered when the players passed by — likely, not the reaction the coaching staff was looking for.) Nate Solder took a lap late in practice.

– In one session on the close practice field — in what appeared to be a goal-line passing drill — Bill Belichick was leading a session where Brady was working with starting receivers Brandon LaFell, Julian Edelman and Thompkins, as well as Gronkowski. (Danny Amendola was on the far field returning punts.) Meanwhile, next to them, Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Devin McCourty were working with cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer. (Later in the session, Duron Harmon was subbed in for McCourty in the drill involving Revis and Browner.) It was a next juxtaposition involving some of the most important players on the team, and reinforced the quotes from Belichick on Thursday when it comes to the best thing about being a head coach: “That’€™s the good thing about being the head coach. You can coach whoever you want; you’€™re not locked into one position,” he said. “If I feel like coaching somebody, I can go over there and coach them. That’€™s nice. I enjoy that, I really do.”

– Amendola and Roy Finch got work as punt returners.

– In 7-on-7s, one of the highlights came when Kyle Arrington and Pat Chung had a terrific pass breakup on a Brady pass for Amendola. Later, Brady found Thompkins with a great pass in the corner of the end zone. (On that play, Jamie Collins was split wide covering Stevan Ridley.) Wide receiver Greg Orton and cornerback Kyle Arrington collided going for a ball, while tight end Asa Watson was part of a scrum going for a loose ball. Later on, Brady found Michael Hoomanawnaui with a great pas sin the corner of the end zone, beating McCourty. Brady later hit Thompkins for a touchdown on a diving catch, and zipped one to LaFell on the next play.

– Orton, who was signed two days ago, was caught up in a collision late in practice, and had to be carted off. (It didn’t look like there was any contact involved on the play where he went down.) It’s unknown how severe the injury is, but for what it’s worth, he wasn’t lying down in the back of the cart on his way off the field.

– In 11-on-11s at the end of practice, Brady found Amendola with a sharp pass over the middle for a touchdown. Edelman and Arrington did a little pushing and shoving at the end of a play later in 11-on-11s, but nothing really happened. Shortly after that, Ryan Mallett hit Shane Vereen on a nice wheel route out of the backfield on back to back plays, with Vereen beating James Anderson to the back of the end zone for a neat catch on the second pass play.

– There was more bad than good Friday from Garoppolo. Near the end of the 11-on-11s, he threw a ball over the middle right to linebacker Chris White. He was picked off later by defensive back Daxton Swanson. Both picks were badly telegraphed. (He did bounce back with a nice pass to Ridley out of the backfield.)

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick knows a team leader when he sees one. And in Jerod Mayo, he’s sees one of the best he’s ever been around in the NFL.

Bill Belichick spoke very highly of Jerod Mayo (51) on Friday. (AP)

Bill Belichick spoke very highly of Jerod Mayo (51) on Friday. (AP)

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick knows a team leader when he sees one. And in Jerod Mayo, he’s sees one of the best he’s ever been around in the NFL.

That’s saying something from a coach who has been in the presence of Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Carl Banks, Pepper Johnson, Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi, Tom Brady and Junior Seau.

But on Friday, Mayo was put in that lofty group by Belichick when the Patriots coach was asked about what Mayo means to the Patriots, after missing half of last season with a torn pectoral muscle.

“Yeah, I think he means a lot to our team,” Belichick began. “I’d say he’s really the guy that the team probably revolves around more than any other player. Not that there aren’t other players instrumental in that. He pretty much touches everybody, not just the defensive players but all the guys, and not the just the older guys, the younger guys. Even when he was captain in the second year, he had a relationship with the older guys.

“Now, he’s more a veteran player but he’s still pretty attached to the younger guys like Jamie Collins, Hightower, guys like that, in addition to players not at his position. He’s got a great work ethic, great presence on the football field, great personality that I would I say in a very good way professional but also has good re pore with all the players and the coaches. He’s as as well-respected as any player in the locker room. I’d say he’s one of the best overall team leaders and players, kind of a glue-chemistry guy, [as] I’ve been around.”

Mayo, the 10th overall pick by the Patriots out of Tennessee in 2008, is already entering his seventh season. He has enjoyed a career that included NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in ’08 and a Super Bowl appearance in Feb. 2012.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Bristol Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh rejected defense claims that former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been wrongly accused of murder in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.

Bristol Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh rejected defense claims that former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been wrongly accused of murder in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.

The defense had requested Garsh dismiss all charges against Hernandez because Bristol prosecutors haven’t shown who actually fired the shots that killed Lloyd in a North Attleboro industrial park last summer.

Garsh wrote the defense also argued that the only proof on Hernandez is that he was in a car with friends Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz when they picked up Lloyd that night.

Garsh ruled Thursday the Commonwealth, “was not required to present evidence before the grand jury as to exactly how Hernandez participated in the murder or as to who shot Lloyd,” given the evidence already provided.

“He claims that the evidence demonstrated no more than his presence in the car with Ortiz, Wallace, and Lloyd shortly before Lloyd was shot to death,” Garsh wrote. “The grand jury heard sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that Hernandez intentionally participated in some meaningful way in the commission of the offense.”

Hernandez is being charged with first-degree murder in Lloyd’s death.

Garsh noted the alleged motive for Lloyd’s killing. According to the ruling, Hernandez allegedly was upset that he had taken Lloyd to his Franklin townhouse, which he apparently didn’t want him knowing about, following a trip to a Boston nightclub on June 14, 2013.

Hernandez allegedly summoned Wallace and Ortiz on June 16, picked up Lloyd from his home and shot him to death at about 3:30 a.m.

Blog Author: 
Nick Canelas

FOXBORO -- The only people not bursting at the seams around Foxboro when it comes to talking about Darrelle Revis are the coaches.

We return to our weekly segments with the one and only Peter King of MMQB and NBC's Football Night in America.

[0:03:49] ... he would clearly. The number one guy in the community on the Baltimore Ravens used this state spokesman for anti bullying campaign. So you know I think he also. Got some credit some some points or ...
[0:07:33] ... Peter King Sports Illustrated in the MM QB. Look let's be honest Bill Belichick economic news very often when he gets together with a -- fact usually just the opposite he tries to keep the news from yet. So when he just casually dropped the word yesterday that Rob Gronkowski been cleared -- full go for training -- -- was out on the field with his teammates today. It's surprised a lot of us do you think it surprised the other teams in the AFC east. Well it's obviously been an excellent offseason for rehab for Rob Gronkowski because clearly. I think most people felt that he'd start ...
[0:09:45] ... changing. All time great perhaps defensive player for the patriots we think Tom Brady is that guy. What his career is over he's probably gotta be -- But I don't think there's anybody on the patriots ...