MIAMI GARDENS, Florida - As the Patriots prepare to wrap their regular season and embark on a Gronkless postseason, there's reason to be encouraged about the big tight end.
Rob Gronkowski is expected to be ready to participate in the team's offseason program, according to a source.
Gronk, who underwent season-ending back surgery in November, was up and about immediately after his surgery and was at a promotional event this week in Boston. But availability for the offseason after his third back surgery since 2009 was still undetermined.
The Patriots have Gronk locked up through 2019 at very team-friendly rates. Gronkowski's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, had discussions with the team last offseason about a restructure.
Patriots seven-time Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater is in Pittsburgh on Saturday making a free-agent visit to the rival Steelers, according to an ESPN's Field Yates.
Slater, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. The special teams captain and one of the leaders in the locker room signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.
The Patriots lost special teamer Johnson Bademosi to the Texans in free agency on Friday but signed special teamers Brandon Bolden and Brandon King just before the free agency period began.
More to come...
Tom Brady has been making the media rounds lately with "Good Morning America" and "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" appearances this past week to promote his "Tom vs. Time" series and TB12 Method book. On Saturday, Brady was a phone-in guest on NPR's "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me" for their "Not My Job" segment.
Before a mostly cheering live audience in Hartford and after a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks - mostly drawbacks - of tomatoes and strawberries, plus an assessment of the intelligence of most defensive coordinators, Brady settled in to handle three questions about the world's second-most famous Bradys, the family from the classic sitcom - "The Brady Bunch".
Click here to listen and see how he did.