The food at the AFC coaches breakfast on Tuesday at the Arizona Biltmore was fairly standard fare: fruit, muffins, ham and egg croissants.
And when Bill Belichick sat down, many of his answers were standard fare as well: for players who have left the team, he said rosters change every year; for players the Patriots have signed, he said he’s looking forward to working with them, and in all things, he’s just trying to do what’s best for his football team.
There were a couple of things that caught the ear, however, and one of them concerned Rob Gronkowski, who has undergone three surgeries on his right forearm over the last four months after breaking his arm twice. One surgery was to clean an infection.
Belichick was measured in his first two responses to questions, and gave an indication with the third that he might not be too happy with his Pro Bowl tight end.
Question No. 1: “Do you feel Rob is on a good medical track to be ready for training camp?”
“Well, that’s a long way away,” Belichick said. “A lot of players have a lot of things to do between now and then. Coaches, for that matter, in terms of just getting ready for the season. I’m sure, hopefully, everyone will be working hard at it. We’ll see how it comes out.”
Question No. 2: “Have you been happy with the way he’s been attentive to how he’s dealt with his rehab?”
Belichick: “With his rehab? I mean, again, I think every player has a process they go through to get ready for the offseason program and training camp. Every player, or most every player, has to deal with some aspect of it, including the normal things like conditioning, overall training relative to their physical abilities and their position.”
“The program hasn’t started yet. When the program starts on April 15, we’ll have a lot better evaluation of where everybody is.”
“There’s some limited information now, but I wouldn’t put too much on that at this point. I’d say in most cases, it’s pretty incomplete.”
Several minutes later, Belichick was asked if he had caught Gronkowski’s wrestling moves, a reference to the grainy video of the tight end dancing shirtless on stage at a Las Vegas nightclub during Super Bowl week, still sporting a black cast and picking up a companion and body-slamming him to the stage.
Reporter: “Guess not?”
Belichick: “Let’s stick to football questions.”
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