Gronkowski plays through illness

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tight end Rob Gronkowski didn't want to address the topic, mainly because he didn't want to make it sound like he was patting himself on the back. His advice was to direct questions to Bill Belichick.

Only after a reporter persisted did he offer this: "I didn't think I was playing this morning."

Turns out Gronkowski was so ill before Sunday's game against the Jets that he didn't take part in pregame warmups. Yet when it was time to take the field for the game, Gronkowski was there.

The stat sheet will show that he didn't produce big (4 catches, 31 yards), but it's days like these where a player is just trying to get by and be competitive.

Gronkowski did that, also delivering some big blocks in the run game. In all, Gronkowski was on the field for more than 60 snaps in a performance that warrants mention given the illness he played through.

Professional effort.