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Rob Gronkowski not expected to go on Pats' PUP list

The New England Patriots are leaning strongly against placing tight end Rob Gronkowski on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, NFL.com's Albert Breer reported Thursday, via two sources.

Gronkowski's exact timetable to return from back surgery remains uncertain, but this news shows the Patriots are hopeful he will return relatively early in the season. Placing Gronkowski on reserve/PUP would have prevented him from playing or practicing for the first six weeks of the season. Breer previously reported that late September was a potential target for Gronkowski's return.

Keeping Gronkowski on the active roster is not a huge, huge surprise. Even one extra game of Gronkowski would be worth holding a roster spot for him. It also will allow the Patriots to evaluate his progress on the practice field earlier.

This news is great for Patriots fans, but not so good for potential Patriots "bubble" players like Brandon Bolden, Tim Tebow and Adrian Wilson.

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