Healthy Gronk could make big difference

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski tore his ACL on this hit by the Browns' T.J. Ward (right) and...

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski tore his ACL on this hit by the Browns' T.J. Ward (right) and D'Qwell Jackson last season. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:47 PM ET

Rob Gronkowski is back and taking part in 11-on-11 drills which, while expected eventually, changes the landscape of the NFL more than any news likely to come out of the pre-season.

Baring a season-ending injury to someone of the stature of Peyton Manning or LeSean McCoy, Gronkowski’s return to full health, and it’s premature to say he’s there just yet, will have as wide-ranging an impact as any news to come out of the ridiculously elongated NFL pre-season.

If he’s fully healthy, something the latest reports suggest he is on his way to being, Gronk is a difference-maker not just in the division or the Conference, but even in the chase for the ultimate prize, the Super Bowl.

Quarterback Tom Brady could only do so much a year ago with a receiving corps that lost both Gronkowski and that other fella whose name is not mentioned for fear of a Bill Belichick tongue lashing.


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