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Sat, Dec. 07

Gronkowski cleared to play after concussion
NFL: Super Bowl LII Preview

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski answers questions during a news conference Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, in Minneapolis. The Patriots are scheduled to face the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL Super Bowl 52 on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. (Mark Humphrey/AP)

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski answers questions during a news conference Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, in Minneapolis. The Patriots are scheduled to face the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL Super Bowl 52 on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. (Mark Humphrey/AP)

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been cleared from the concussion protocol and will play in Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Gronkowski participated fully in practice on Thursday. Defensive lineman Deatrich Wise also practiced after being cleared from the concussion protocol. Malcolm Butler (illness) and Brandon King (knee) also participated in the workout.

Gronk said he is “ready to roll” and has no limitations. He had been sidelined since taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jacksonville’s Barry Church in the first half of New England’s AFC championship game win.

The All-Pro tight end missed last year’s Super Bowl win over Atlanta after undergoing back surgery.

Gronkowski said he believes that the team doctors were just using the bye week to be as cautious with the injury as possible.

“We knew the whole time I was gonna be good to go,” he said. “I was progressing really good throughout the week. We just knew I’d be ready and we’ve been practicing like we always do.”

Gronkowski led the team in receiving during the regular season with 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns.

His return gives quarterback Tom Brady another key option against an Eagles defense that finished the regular season ranked fourth in the NFL in defense.

Eagles defensive tackle Jernigan misses practice

MINNEAPOLIS — Philadelphia Eagles starting defensive tackle Tim Jernigan missed his second straight practice Thursday because of an illness.

Coach Doug Pederson said he expects Jernigan to play against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Sunday, even if he doesn’t practice the rest of the week.

“Because of the position and he’s one of our veteran guys, I do feel comfortable that he’ll be ready,” Pederson said in a pool report.

Three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (calf), starting cornerback Ronald Darby (illness) and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) all practiced.

Pederson’s former coach in Green Bay, Mike Holmgren, watched practice.

“It’s fun to have him out there,” Pederson said.

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