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Rob Gronkowski: 'I'm ready to go'

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said he didn't want to be answering questions all week about his status for Sunday's season opener at Miami. So he walked through the locker room late Monday morning, welcomed reporters to join him and broke the news: "I'm good to go. I'll be playing."

It was a bit out of the norm for a Patriots player to be so forthcoming, as the team seldom tips its intentions with anyone, let alone a game-changer like Gronkowski.

Gronkowski, who underwent surgery on a torn right ACL on Jan. 9 and returned to full-team drills for the first time Aug. 18, did not play in the preseason. Because of that, he could still be listed on the team's first injury report, to be released Wednesday afternoon.

"Super excited, super pumped. I feel mentally and physically ready, for sure. No doubt about it," Gronkowski said Monday. "My mentality now is I'm ready to go, I'm ready to be out there, I'm ready to hit, I'm ready to start going."

Once Gronkowski returned from a forearm injury last year, it wasn't until his fifth game that he played every snap. He doesn't expect a full workload Sunday against the Dolphins.

"Definitely not [playing] every single snap, but just get out there, get my feet wet, whatever coaches have, whatever we game-plan this week will be good," he said.

Gronkowski said he will most likely wear a brace over the knee but doesn't plan to change his style of play. After months of challenging rehabilitation, he flashed several smiles and laughed a few times while answering questions from reporters Monday.

"It feels good to be out here now this week, preparing for the Dolphins, knowing that I put myself in the best situation the last few weeks and few months to get back out here," Gronkowski said. "That was my plan the whole time -- to work as hard as I could so I'd be ready for this week."

Though Gronkowski's return is news to the rest of the league, the Dolphins were not surprised.

"We were fully prepared. We saw he was on the 53-man roster so we have to be prepared for every combination," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said Monday. "He's an excellent player. He's been very productive throughout his career. So we will have a good plan in place. ... We will be ready for him, for sure."

ESPN.com's James Walker contributed to this report.

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Rob Gronkowski Cleared To Play Week 1
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