Rob Gronkowski No. 21 on NFL Top 100

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Rob Gronkowski No. 21 on NFL Top 100

As NFL Network continues ticking down on its list of Top 100 Players of 2012, another Patriot is named.

Rob Gronkowski is ranked at 21.

The record-breaking Patriots tight end did a remote interview with a quartet of NFL Total Access analysts: Kurt Warner, Steve Mariucci, Warren Sapp, and Heath Evans.

On being the No. 2 tight end on the countdown:
First off, it's just an honor to be even recognized as a Top 100 player. To be at 21, just my second year in the league it's just an honor for me. Got to stay humble, and just got to keep grinding every single day and every single year. Just keep working hard.

Warner asks what it is about the Patriots system that fosters success:
Just everyone around you. Everyone's in, all for each other. Having a great supporting cast around me from the coaches to the players. Everyone has one goal, and it's to win. No matter how you can get it done If it's one of the wide receivers having 14 catches a game, three touchdowns. Or if it's a running back having a good game, or if it's one of us tight ends having a good game. We're all in it for each other, we're all there to support each other and that's all everyone wants to do -- we just play together as a team to get that victory.

Mariucci inquires into Gronkowski's offseason goals:
Just to improve my game every single game. First off, getting in the playbook, learning the offense; you can never not know the offense 100-percent. Just always learning more and more every time you step out on the field. And also, just using every single aspect of the game, from blocking and pass catching-wise -- just focusing and getting better in every single thing. Taking my weaknesses and making them stronger and taking my strengths and making them better. Just working on every single aspect of my game so that when training camp comes rolling into the season, I'm ready, strong and ready to roll.

What's your favorite route, Sapp asks:
My favorite route is definitely the flag route. I just love giving the little shake at the top, at 10-12 yards and bursting out over in the corner. I mean, I'm most comfortable running that route and it's always been my favorite -- ever since high school.

Evans knows all about Bill Belichick's weekly Q&A sessions, but enlighten the fans:
You've just got to be ready for anything, at any time, any type of questions. You just always want to be prepared. You want to know your plays, you want to know your opponents, you want to be studying up on film. Whenever it comes down to a question, your heart is just you're feeling it. You just want to get that question right, whatever it is. It just keeps you on your toes at all times to make sure you're mentally prepared coming in every single week, which is great.

Owen Daniels said Gronkowski is the TE all TEs are measured by. Who do you measure YOURSELF by?
That's an honor that he even said that, Owen Daniels I've actually been looking up to him when I was in college watching him play and everything. That's just an honor to be mentioned like that from other players. My favorite players were Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, Antonio Gates just growing up in high school and college watching all them. I still compare myself to them, I still watch their film all the time. I still try to take tips from their game and add it to my game.

And just right now, Jimmy Graham, he's in the same class as me. He's a great player. He's a great tight end. I'm always looking at his game, too. Trying to figure out what he's doing because he's having so much success down there in New Orleans.

So much respect for all the other tight ends out there.

Gronkowsk hoping to go "freakin' crazy" on the field soon

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Gronkowsk hoping to go "freakin' crazy" on the field soon

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowsi had what was, for him, an incredibly quiet game against the Texans on Thursday. He saw 14 snaps and ran just one route. He did see a target from rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett when he ran that route, but it floated high over his head and sailed out of the end zone incomplete. 

In his first game action since suffering a hamstring injury on Aug. 15, the Patriots chose to being their All-Pro tight end along slowly, but he's hoping that he'll be more involved in the very near future. 

"You’ve got to be careful with any injury, but I mean, if you research hamstrings, if you know anything about hamstrings, you’ve definitely got to be careful," he said. "You’ve got to progress. You can’t just hop back in and be full-go 100 percent. I wish it was like that. I can’t wait until I’m going freakin' crazy out there again. So I’m just progressing myself into it and feeling better every single day."

Gronkowski was back on the practice field for his team's workout in full pads on Wednesday. He was spotted running through drills and catching passes from tight ends coach Brian Daboll, and he did not appear to be visibly limited. After running around in a game, albeit briefly, Gronkowski explained that he experienced no setbacks.

"I felt good, definitely," Gronkowski said of playing under the lights. "You’re always sore no matter what after playing a game. No matter if you play 10 plays or 70 plays, [you’re] definitely sore like any other game. But no setbacks. No nothing. Feeling good and just progressing every day."

Regardless of who happens to be playing quarterback for the Patriots against the Bills on Sunday -- whether it's Jimmy Garoppolo or Brissett, both of whom practiced Wednesday -- having Gronkowski on the field and closer to his usual level of participation should help. 

"They’re doing very well, very excellent," Gronkowski said of Garoppolo and Brissett's performances with Tom Brady out. "Every single day, they’re just trying to improve and progress every day. This week, you just see everyone throughout the team, everyone is just trying to progress . . . The coaches do a great job of getting the quarterbacks prepared. If there is something there that we need to get on the same page with the quarterbacks on, we’ll talk, but the coaches do an excellent job of getting the quarterbacks ready."

Patriots re-sign DT Anthony Johnson to practice squad

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Patriots re-sign DT Anthony Johnson to practice squad

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have re-signed defensive tackle Anthony Johnson to their practice squad, the team announced. 

Johnson, 23, made the Patriots out of training camp after putting together an impressive preseason in which he recorded five quarterback pressures and was in on two sacks. In two regular-season games, he played 43 snaps as an interior pass-rusher, registering one quarterback hit and one hurry. He was inactive for New England's Week 2 game against the Dolphins. 

The 6-foot-2, 295-pounder was released earlier this week in order to clear room for free-agent defensive lineman John Hughes to be added to the roster. Hughes checks in at 6-2, 320 pounds and would serve more as a space-eating defensive tackle than Johnson, who was used as more of a penetrating pass-rusher. 

In order to make room for Johnson on the practice squad, the Patriots released offensive lineman Ian Silberman.