And now we turn to what Gronkowski himself said Thursday.
"Obviously, I want to be out there,” Gronkowski said, via the Boston Herald. "I love the game of football. I love playing. I love playing the game. It's great being out there with my teammates, practicing out there, getting on the same page, getting the chemistry down. We'll see.”
As for what the others have said:
Patriots owner Robert Kraft: “Our first concern is his health and safety and doing what's in his best interest long-term. And he's the only one who can decide when he's ready to play and we're completely behind whatever his decision is.”
Mother Diane Gronkowski: “All I can say is Robbie is dying to play. He wants to get out there. He's doing what he has to do to get back playing. He doesn't like it. He wants to play. It really bothers him that he's not playing."
Agent Drew Rosenhaus: "There's a huge difference between being cleared to practice and being cleared to play in a game. I've had great dialogue with coach [Bill] Belichick and the Patriots medical staff, and Rob and his family. Everybody's on the same page.”
Last week as the Patriots prepared to face the Saints, Gronkowski practiced with the scout team and imitated Saints star tight end Jimmy Graham. Gronkowski's contributions were one reason why New England cornerback Aqib Talib and the rest of the Patriots defense kept Graham without a catch.
But when Gronkowski didn't play again last Sunday, there were reports that teammates couldn't understand why he could be so active in practice and then not be ready for the game.
And there's been speculation that though the team believes he can play, it's Gronkowski who's unwilling to dress out unless his forearm is completely healthy. He was asked by reporters if he would be playing if he was the only one making the decision.
"I wouldn't say that because you've got to go through the process of asking the doctors and everything," Gronkowski said. "So I'm not just going to make a decision by myself. That's why you've got a whole organization to work together."
The main point to be taken away from all this: we still don't know if Gronkowski will play this week.