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Tom Brady hoping Rob Gronkowski has “his best game of the year”

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 26: Tom Brady #12 reacts with Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots after a touchdown during the third quarter of a game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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Rob Gronkowski hijacked the Patriots’ team press conference Thursday, with his riser more packed with media than Tom Brady’s. No one was happier about that than the Patriots quarterback.

“Have you talked to him yet? Is he around here today? He is? Well, good,” Brady said, laughing. “That makes me happy then. He’s a big weapon for us. He’s a guy that always shows up with a great attitude. He’s just an incredible player. Hopefully he can go out there and play his best game of the year.”

The Patriots came back in last year’s Super Bowl without Gronkowski, who went on injured reserve with a back injury that required surgery after only eight games. They came back in this year’s AFC Championship Game, too, despite Gronkowski playing only 26 of 64 plays as he was knocked out with a concussion before halftime.

But Gronkowski makes Brady’s job easier and the Patriots a better team.

Doctors cleared Gronkowski from concussion protocol on Thursday, assuring he will start Sunday’s game against the Eagles.

“Gronk is just a dominant player,” Brady said. “He always finds a way to have space. He’s tall. He’s fast. He’s quick. He’s got incredible hands. I mean, look at the guy. It’s pretty nice to throw to guys like that. I’ve been lucky to be his teammate for a long time. He’s a great friend. He’ll be a friend for life. I’m proud of him and everything that he’s accomplished and what he’s overcome. His mental and physical toughness has been a great attribute, and I’m hoping he goes out and plays a great game.”