FOXBORO -- It's always an interesting dynamic when a new reporter settles into a seat inside the Gillette Stadium workroom ready to spar with Bill Belichick. The reporter has a job to do and will ask questions he or she feels are legitimate, and Belichick will engage as he sees fit.
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One of the more entertaining (or awkward, depending on your viewpoint) back-and-forths between Belichick and a curious journalist - who was arguably not all that ready to spar based on one of his follow-ups - occurred on Wednesday morning when the topic of Rob Gronkowski's status popped up.
Gronkowski entered into the league's concussion protocol following a hit by Jaguars safety Barry Church during the NFL title game, per NFL Media. You can find the details on what the protocol entails here.
Did Belichick expect the All-Pro tight end to play, the reporter asked. Any updates there?
"Yeah, we'll be compliant with the NFL injury report," Belichick said, "and when that's required we'll put it on."
When will the process be finished, the reporter pressed on? (There is no timetable on concussion recovery or the NFL's protocol because of the nature of those types of injuries.)
"When what process is finished?" Belichick asked. "Whatever the situation is, whatever his status is, we'll put it on the injury report. We'll make sure you're the first one to get it."
"I'm sure you will," the reporter said sarcastically.
"Not a problem," Belichick said.
When the question was posed again as to whether or not Belichick expected Gronkowski to play, Belichick answered, "We'll put it right on the injury report and that's what we're going to do, like everybody else does. We'll make sure you're first on this list."
"Thank you," said the reporter, seemingly exasperated.
"Don't want to hold anything back here," Belichick said.
The reporter appeared fed up at this point, saying, "I know you don't."
Belichick had the final word. "It's all we can do," he said.