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Rob Gronkowski (knee) participates in 11-on-11 drills

Rob Gronkowski took another step toward the goal of playing in the season opener.

The New England Patriots tight end saw his first work in 11-on-11 drills Monday, per ESPN's Mike Reiss. He also took part in 7-on-7 drills and got "in and out of his routes without an issue," via WEEI.com.

The tight end saw a lot of balls thrown his way Monday, per Reiss. However, he didn't see action in blocking sequences.

NFL Media's Albert Breer has been reporting for months that the Patriots will be cautious with their All-Pro tight end even if Week 1 is the goal. The decision will likely go down to the wire.

Amid a report last week that Gronk was "favoring his right knee" and running with a "decent" limp, working in team drills this week is a good sign.

Gronk won't play in the final two preseason bouts, but Monday was encouraging for the prospect of seeing him on the field to start the season.

The latest "Around the League Podcast" talks quarterback battles and debates the gang's preseason power rankings.

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