Rob Gronkowski returns to contact drills with Patriots

Rob Gronkowski is participating in contact drills with the New England Patriots for the first time since his knee surgery last January.

Tight end plans to suit up for season opener Sept. 7

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is back participating in contact drills following January surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee. He is hoping to suit up for New England's season opener on Sept. 7. (Associated Press/File)

Rob Gronkowski is participating in contact drills with the New England Patriots for the first time since his knee surgery.

The star tight end says he's planning to be ready for the season opener on Sept. 7 against the Miami Dolphins.

Gronkowski tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee on Dec. 8 and underwent surgery on Jan. 9. He had been practising on the side with quarterback Tom Brady during training camp. His first contact drills came on Monday as the Patriots held their final workout of camp.

They'll revert to their regular-season practice schedule when they work out on Tuesday for Friday night's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.

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