New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski participated in his first full-pads practice Sunday since undergoing multiple surgeries on his left forearm and one surgery on his back this offseason.

While it is not considered a realistic expectation for Gronkowski to be ready for the regular-season opener Sept. 8 on the road against the Buffalo Bills or the home opener against the Jets the following Thursday his presence on the practice field Sunday reflects that he continues to make progress in his rehabilitation and might be ready to transition from a rehab-specific focus to more football-specific drills.

In the 15 minutes that reporters were present Gronkowski went through running drills as players ran the width of the field multiple times then was part of an agility drill in which players step over bags while keeping their eyes up to catch a football thrown by a coach. He also took part in a lower-key blocking drill in which he worked on technique by getting out of his stance and hitting a blocking pad held by a coach.

Upon arriving in the locker room after practice Gronkowski told reporters he would speak to them later in the week.

A source said Gronkowski didn't go through the entire practice with the team as rehabbing players sometimes take part in the first parts of the workout (running agility drills) before going to a different field to continue rehab-type work.