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Rob Gronkowski looks sharp in New England Patriots OTAs after back surgery

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The Sports Xchange
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) charges down the field on a 38-yard reception in the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. File photo by Matthew Healey/UPI
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) charges down the field on a 38-yard reception in the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. File photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, coming off a season-ending back injury and fresh from signing a restructured deal that could pay him as much as $10.75 million this season, impressed coaches this week during organized team activities.

"He looks like Gronk," Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels told reporters. "We haven't got into a big evaluation. He's involved in everything."

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The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Gronkowski is less than six months removed from back surgery, but was a full participant during Thursday OTAs practice in the rain.

Reporters saw quarterback Tom Brady loft a high-arcing 20-yard throw to Gronkowski up the right sideline for a touchdown.

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After the play, the 28-year-old Gronkowski reversed chest-bumped fullback James Develin and receiver Julian Edelman in celebration, according to ESPN.

"I mean, we'll see how it goes," coach Bill Belichick told reporters regarding Gronkowski. "We've only practiced a couple days. We've got a long way to go, but we'll see how it goes."

Gronkowski was injured in Week 12 against the New York Jets on Nov. 27. He caught 25 passes for 540 yards and three touchdowns in eight games in 2016.

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RELATED Rob Gronkowski agrees to restructured deal with New England Patriots

Gronkowski agreed to a restructured deal on Tuesday that will give him a chance to boost his salary this season from $5.25 million to $10.75 million, according to agent Drew Rosenhaus.

The contract runs through 2019, but no changes were made to the final two years of the deal.

Gronkowski, a four-time Pro Bowler, hasn't played all 16 regular-season games since 2011. He has played in 11 or fewer games in three of the past five seasons.

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In seven NFL seasons, Gronkowski has 405 receptions for 6,095 yards and 68 touchdowns.

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