A day after Rob Gronkowski told reporters he would play in Sunday's regular-season opener against the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he is not ready to decide on the tight end's playing status.
"I'm glad that Rob is optimistic about his situation," Belichick said on a conference call Tuesday. "We will go through a week of practice, look at everything and everybody and see where everybody is at and try to do what's best for the team.
"With all due respect to Rob that he feels the way he does, but in the end we will have to make the decision that we feel is best for the team."
Gronkowski, who underwent surgery on a torn right ACL on Jan. 9, sat out all four preseason games but said Monday that he is physically and mentally ready to go for the regular season and would play in Week 1.
"Rob has been practicing, and we have been doing some different things, building our offensive system and packages as we go throughout the course of the year, and he has been part of that," offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Tuesday. "Whatever we can or are available to use him to do -- however big, small -- whatever the decision is, he will be ready to do it."
Regardless of Gronkowski's status, McDaniels said the Patriots are preparing to play aggressively on offense.
"We are going to go in there and try to do the right thing to win the game this week and worry about going forward next week," McDaniels said. "Ultimately, at the beginning of the season, you are trying to go out there and let your team be aggressive, play football and try to do something they know how to do."
As with any game, McDaniels emphasized that there are decisions to be made right up to pregame for Sunday's opener.
"There's always some unknowns that are going to come up on opening day," he said. "We are just going to out there and try to put together a solid plan with all our guys and let our players play fast and aggressive."