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Rob Gronkowski clears concussion protocol, 'ready to roll' for Super Bowl

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – It took a while, but Rob Gronkowski was finally cleared to play in Super Bowl LII.

On Thursday afternoon the New England Patriots’ star tight end was officially cleared from the concussion protocol. He had been in the protocol since taking a big hit from Jacksonville Jaguars safety Barry Church in the AFC championship game.

“I would say they were more on the cautious side of getting me out there right away, with the bye week and everything in between, which definitely helped out big time,” Gronkowski said Thursday. “Did every step by step every day, and everything went smooth, and officially got the word today I was cleared. It was super nice to hear from the doctors, going through the whole process, and ready to roll.”

Gronkowski said he was able to do everything in practice, including contact drills, and he was full-go for the Super Bowl on Sunday. He said he wasn’t worried about not being cleared before the Super Bowl. He was progressing every day and he and the team knew he’d be given a clean bill of health before the end of the week.

“We knew the whole time I’d be good to go,” Gronkowski said. “I was progressing the whole week.”

Rob Gronkowski warms up during a practice Thursday. (AP)

Gronkowski’s importance to the Patriots can’t be understated. He had 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in the regular season and is Tom Brady’s favorite target. Gronkowski returned to practice on a limited basis late last week, though he remained in the protocol until Thursday.

“There was no frustration, there was no reason to get frustrated,” Gronkowski said. “We had that extra week, which was awesome to have.”

Gronkowski’s status was the last major question this week regarding injured players for Super Bowl LII. Aside from players who are done for the season, both teams should have everyone available for  Sunday.