FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski's teammates, coaches and fans aren't the only ones looking forward to the tight end's eventual return to the field. He's pretty excited to get out there himself.
"It's gonna be a great feeling, obviously," Gronkowski said Thursday. "Just been working hard toward that goal and working hard everyday to achieve that. It's gonna be exciting. When it happens, it's gonna be awesome."
The question is when?
Gronkowski has missed New England's first five games of the season as he recovers from forearm and back ailments. Pro Football Talk reported this week that he is expected to be cleared to play against the Saints on Sunday afternoon.
If that's the case, Gronkowski was not willing to confirm with a hoard of reporters surrounding his locker.
"Basically nothing new," he said. "Just working hard every week, working hard out at practice. Nothing's changed. We're day by day, like we've been from the very beginning. It's all about the New England Patriots versus the New Orleans Saints this weekend. It's gonna be exciting, and they've got a good team."
Gronkowski explained that he continues to improve his conditioning with each practice.
"Obviously, when I started, the conditioning was pretty rough," he said. "Obviously that's what practices are for and working hard is for. Improving every week, taking it day by day. Will be super excited when I get out there."
When his question-and-answer session finished, Gronkowski said he was on his way to try to continue improving on his conditioning.
"I gotta go work out so I'll probably feel better after that," he said.