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Rob Gronkowski pulls up, leaves practice early

Less than a month before the start of the regular season, there's cause for concern about Jimmy Garoppolo's most valuable target.

Rob Gronkowski left Monday's joint practice with the Chicago Bears after pulling up during a 7-on-7 drill. Tom Brady threw a pass in the direction of Gronkowski, who didn't finish his route or make the catch, instead walking over to a trainer who eventually escorted the tight end off the field.

Gronkowski walked off under his own power, but was moving slowly as he left, according to

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Gronk's injury is minor, and the four-time Pro Bowl selection sat out of Tuesday's practice session.

Gronkowski's value to the Patriots' offense -- a unit that will be led by Garoppolo for the first four weeks of the regular season -- is unquestioned, and the importance of a reliable tight end for an inexperienced quarterback cannot be emphasized enough. The hope for all parties involved is that it's nothing more than a scare. Until then, we wait.

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