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Patriots HC Bill Belichick explains why TE Rob Gronkowski wasn't at practice in the most Belichick fashion

The tight end wasn't on the field, and the head coach explained why.

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Denver Broncos Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick held a press conference during the team's first mandatory minicamp. Technically. It was a press conference in the purest sense that the media asked him questions and words came out of Belichick's mouth.

"Is there any clarification on [long snapper Joe Cardona]'s status for 2016?," one intrepid reporter asked.

"He's here," Belichick replied.

"Will Joe Cardona be here the rest of the way?," was the follow up question.

"I don't know," Belichick offered.

And on it went.

Belichick hit most of his traditional cliches, like "just keep making progress" and just try to build on the day before" and "just grind through it day by day" and "we're all starting over, coaches, players, everybody." Robo-Belichick just copy-and-pasted his answers from last year's press conference.

Another reporter asked about camp attendance, and I'll let Belichick take it from here.

"Did everyone report to camp?"

"I don't know," Belichick replied. "Whoever is here is here."

"Is there a reason why [tight end Rob Gronkowski] wasn't on the field?"

"There are a lot of players that were not on the field," Belichick replied. "They were doing other things."

"Was Rob Gronkowski expected to be there?"

"All of our players are," Belichick replied. "They're doing other things."

So, if we read between the lines, we can interpret that Gronkowski and the rest of the absentees were "doing other things" with the implication that the "things" are done with Belichick's approval.

Many players are going through rehab for injuries suffered over the past season and it wouldn't be a surprise if Gronkowski, with his knee scare last season, is going through the motions with some the training staff inside the building.

We'll follow up with any updates on Gronkowski's status if they surface.