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Patriots’ Gronk expects to play in the Super Bowl

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) — New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski says he expects to play in Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Gronkowski has been in the league’s concussion protocol after taking a hit from Jacksonville’s Barry Church in the AFC championship game. He made his first public appearance on Tuesday night while playing former teammate and current Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount in a game of “Madden 18” at the Mall of America.

Gronkowski said he’s still in the concussion protocol and would leave his status up to those in charge of making medical decisions.

“Hopefully by (Wednesday),” he said. “We’ll see how it goes. I’m not the guy to say I’m out of the protocol. That’s the doctors’ calls.”

Gronkowski led the Patriots with 69 receptions for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns this season. He missed last year’s Super Bowl win against Atlanta because of a back injury.

Blount, who won two Super Bowls with Gronkowski and the Patriots before joining the Eagles, dominated his virtual matchup on Xbox in front of a packed crowd of Patriots fans at a Microsoft store. They left disappointed as Blount led his Eagles to a 33-13 win over Patriots.

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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