FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski pinch-hit for Tom Brady at the podium on Wednesday and -- while he did a decent job of keeping the quarterback’s business veiled -- he was fairly revealing on his ailing hammy and slow start.

Asked directly if his hamstring is holding him back, Gronk replied, “Uhh, I mean, obviously it’s holding me back. I didn’t play the first two games, didn’t play that much the third one and played more in the fourth one. I’ve been progressing every single week, every single day and hopefully this week it’s go time.”

This is confirmation from Gronkowski that it hasn’t yet been “go time.”   

“Coming back, you can’t just go full speed, 100 percent,” he said. “I wish I could. I wish it was like that, ‘Boom, I’m healthy, boom, I can run full speed.’ But I just gotta take it slowly, make sure you’re coming back strong, make sure everything on your body feels good. When I can get rolling, I’m gonna be rolling.”

He understands the agitation his low production is causing ever-wailing fantasy owners who have their rosters front-of-mind at all moments.  

"I can’t even go to the grocery store without getting yelled at,” Gronk said. “I’m like, ‘Why did you draft me?’ "


Will their patience be repaid soon?

“Hopefully,” he replied.

In the Brady Theater, the two quotes of note were, “Good to have TB back, man.” And, “Tom’s back at quarterback, baby.”

Other than that, Gronkowski said it was just business as usual, standard operating procedure, usual modus operandi, etc, etc.  

“I’ve been practicing with Tom for a while now so we just have to go out and do what we’ve done since the first day I got here,” he said, adding later, “I feel like it’s just gonna be another week, a normal week. I don’t see why that should change.”

Yeah, well . . . it ain’t.