Rob Gronkowski takes "step forward" in return

New England's Rob Gronkowski celebrates a TD against Miami on December 30, 2012
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New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski reveals that he is relishing being back in practice and he hopes to play in all 16 games this season.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to full team drills during practice on Monday and immediately struck up his understanding with quarterback Tom Brady.

Gronkowski has been out of action since undergoing surgery on a torn ACL in his right knee on January 9, and is pleased to be back on the field.

"Definitely a step forward with participating more and more. It's doing well so far, no setbacks or anything. I'm having a blast competing back out there," Gronkowski said, ESPN reports.

The 25-year-old is hopeful of playing in all 16 games this year but he is leaving the decision on whether he will play in a pre-season game to the training staff.

Wide receiver Aaron Dobson #17 of the New England Patriots celebrates as he runs to score on a 39-yard catch in the first quarter against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2013
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