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Patriots owner Robert Kraft says Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski will be at mandatory minicamp

Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady

The New England Patriots were without their two biggest stars in Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to start their organized team activities. Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn’t answer any questions about the two absentees. However, Patriots owner Robert Kraft has offered up an important update on both.

Kraft said he’s been in communication with Brady, who plans to attend the team’s mandatory minicamp next month. Kraft sounded understanding of Brady’s absence at voluntary workouts and said the veteran quarterback is “very excited” about being at camp.

“I think he’s very excited about the upcoming season,” Kraft said per ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “These are voluntary workouts, and I think he’s in great shape. I think he’s at an age where … he’s blessed to have three children now and built a number of businesses and has certain responsibilities. I think it’s very hard for him to fulfill those during the season and the commitment he has to football. I can only say this: I know he’s very excited about being at minicamp and having a very special season this year.”

Kraft also sounded confident that tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has also stayed away from voluntary workouts, will join Brady at minicamp.

“I’m pretty sure he’ll be here as well [for mandatory minicamp]. We all love Gronk,” he said.

Gronkowski is still awaiting the finalization of his restructured contract, which could be done within the week. It is expected that he will report for OTAs at some point, most likely after that deal gets done.

Per Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald, Brady and Gronkowski have been going to get treatment at the TB12 training center headed by Alex Guerrero in lieu of joining the team during OTAs. It seems unlikely that Belichick is a big fan of that move by his two stars.

But Brady and Gronk are well within their right to pass on the voluntary portion of the Patriots’ offseason program. And despite their decision to skip OTAs, they’re set to attend the mandatory minicamp, which is what really matters.