Rob Gronkowski returns to Patriots practice

For the first time in more than a week, Rob Gronkowski took to the practice field in Foxborough.

The Patriots tight end returned to camp Wednesday after tweaking something during a joint practice with the Bears last Monday.

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. At the time, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Gronk's injury was minor, but the star tight end did not play against the Bears.

Gronk's return to practice is nothing if not great news for the Patriots' offense. Jimmy Garoppolo is heading into his final preseason tuneup before the regular season -- there's no way the first-time starter plays in the finale -- and will need a good three quarters of action with his offensive starters to show the Pats what they have to work with for the first quarter of the season. The top target on New England's offense year-in and year-out, Gronk should be Garoppolo's safety blanket through the stretch.

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