FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After tight end Rob Gronkowski turned in a big-time performance against the Steelers on Nov. 3, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was explaining the impact Gronkowski has on the offense and finished with this thought: "He’s a big presence on our team, and when he’s out there for every snap it’s going to be even better."
Brady's remarks served as a reminder that as impressive as Gronkowski has been since returning Oct. 20, he's still a part-time player averaging 44 snaps per game (including penalties).
Gronkowski, who is listed on the team's injury report as being limited in practice with forearm, back and hamstring injuries, talked Friday bout hopefully making the transition to full-time status.
"[The body's] feeling good. The bye week was great," he said. "Got stronger, got in the weight room, and now we're practicing and just focused on the Carolina Panthers."
A few other sound bites from Gronkowski:
Preparing for the possibility of Luke Kuechly covering him: "He is a great player. You always have to be aware of Luke, wherever he is, because he is very disruptive, and he knows how to make plays."
On how the opportunity came up to appear in a cameo for an upcoming "Entourage" movie: "I'm just here to talk about the Carolina Panthers, but that's pretty cool."
On Brady in big games: "He's a big-time player and he works hard. When players work hard, study hard, and games like this come along, they shine. That's Tom. That's why he's the player he is."
Anticipating the atmosphere in Charlotte: "You go on the road all the time, it's very loud. You prepare for the loudness and energy that stadiums bring, and we have to be out there on the field communicating together as an offense to get the plays down. We know it's going to be electric. That's what makes 'Monday Night Football' and that's what makes the NFL so great on Monday nights. It's going to be a lot of fun. Personally, I can't wait for the game to come."