Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gronkowski Cleared to Play in Super Bowl

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gronkowski Cleared to Play in Super Bowl

Article excerpt

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been cleared from the concussion protocol and will play in Sunday's Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Gronkowski participated fully in practice on Thursday. Defensive lineman Deatrich Wise also practiced after being cleared from the concussion protocol. Malcolm Butler (illness) and Brandon King (knee) also participated in the workout.

Gronk said he is "ready to roll" and has no limitations. He had been sidelined since taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jacksonville's Barry Church in the first half of New England's AFC championship game win.

The All-Pro tight end missed last year's Super Bowl win over Atlanta after undergoing back surgery.

Gronkowski led the team in receiving during the regular season with 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns.

Shazier leaves hospital * Pittsburgh linebacker Ryan Shazier was released from the hospital on Thursday, nearly two months after suffering a spinal injury in a victory over Cincinnati. The Pro Bowler underwent spine stabilization on Dec. 6 and while he was able to travel a bit, including visiting team practices and making appearances at Heinz Field for games, he returned to the hospital each evening.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center says Shazier will transition to an outpatient therapy program.

The 25-year-old Shazier posted a picture on Instagram of him standing alongside Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shortly after his discharge was announced. Shazier has his left arm draped over Roethlisberger's shoulders and his right hand on something for support. Shazier thanked everyone from family to teammates to doctors to fans for their support and said he will "continue to work hard and push and find a way back."

Shazier has not disclosed the exact nature of his injury.

Smith says 'prepare for war' * DeMaurice Smith dismissed with one word a question about his union's labor deal with the NFL being extended. …

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