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Patriots' Gronkowski says he'll play Sunday

Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Football

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's difficult to fathom a scenario -- especially during a Super Bowl week -- where another New England Patriots player commands more attention than quarterback Tom Brady.

Rob Gronkowski accomplished the feat Thursday.

Gronkowski, the Patriots' larger-than-life tight end, was a full participant in practice, finally cleared concussion protocol, and, in his first media appearance in nearly two weeks, said he would play against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.

"I'll be ready to go in the game full-go," he said before a crush of reporters. "Ready to roll."

Gronkowski's status for the defending-champion Patriots' third Super Bowl appearance in four years had been shrouded in mystery ever since he left the Jan. 21 AFC championship game after suffering a concussion.

Gronkowski said having the extra week before arriving in Minneapolis last Sunday helped him recover. The Patriots' medical staff put him through a series of "brain games" and other tests on his road to being cleared, he said.

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"We knew the whole time I'd be good to go," he said.

The Patriots proved they could win without the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Gronkowski by coming back to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also sat out last season's epic Super Bowl comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons because of a back injury.

But they did not want to go into another Super Bowl without him, and he didn't either.

"Just happy to be back out there with the boys," said Gronkowski, an eight-year pro who caught a team-best 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

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