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Rob Gronkowski back at Patriots practice Saturday

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Rob Gronkowski was back at Patriots practice on Saturday, six days after suffering a concussion in the AFC Championship Game.

The tight end took part in the portion of New England's practice open to the media, NFL Network's Omar Ruiz reported. Despite participating in at least some capacity, Gronkowski hasn't officially cleared concussion protocol, Ruiz added.

We should know more about Gronkowski's status when the Patriots release an official injury report, but his appearance at practice should be very encouraging for Pats fans. With a week of preparation left before Super Bowl LII, even if Gronkowski isn't yet through the protocol, he'll have plenty of time to clear the final hurdle(s).

Gronkowski's value is unquestioned. With the tight end, New England is armed with a matchup nightmare who has been the difference in many close games in the past. Even after the Patriots adjusted without Gronkowski in a comeback win in the conference title game, New England is simply a better, more imposing offense with Gronkowski in the lineup.

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