FOXBORO -- Though Rob Gronkowski has been participating in training camp drills since Day 1 last week, as of Tuesday he still hasn't taken any live reps against defensive players.
That's why it opened some eyes when Patriots coach Bill Belichick motioned to Darrelle Revis to cover Gronkowski while the tight end ran routes for Tom Brady in a side session. It appeared as though Gronk's first test was going to be administered by New England's best cover man.
As it turned out, that wasn't really the case. Revis went little more than half speed -- just sticking close to Gronkowski, not trying to break up passes -- and didn't play his typical physical brand of defense.
Still Gronkowski felt as though he benefitted from working against his five-time Pro Bowl teammate.
"It's good, man," Gronkowski said. "He's a good player, and it's good to have him out there. Even though it wasn't full or anything, just him out there shadowing you, running some routes, it's good to get that work in. It's good to have a defender around you so you know what it's like to have a defender right up on you so you're ready when it's time for full speed."
There's still no timetable as to when Gronkowski will start to participate in some of the full contact drills at Patriots practice, but he hinted that he's itching to do some hitting.
"Always, man. It's just tough always sitting out, whatever drill it is, whatever period it is," he said. "You just gotta keep working through, keep working hard so that when it comes down to it I can be out there with my teammates working in those drills."