New England Patriots veteran quarterback Tom Brady admitted that it would be a challenge to play without retired tight end Rob Gronkowski for the first time in a decade. In an interview with Willie McGinest of NFL Network, Brady said it would be hard to replace a player as talented and important as Gronkowski. “It’s always challenging when you have significant turnover,” Brady said in an interview with McGinest, who was a former Patriots linebacker before he became an NFL analyst. Brady explained that every season is like climbing a mountain where everyone starts from the beginning.

And every climb involves a new group of climbers you have to work with on your way up. “There’s no way to do it other than just start working your way up, and that’s what we’re doing now,” said Brady. Without Gronkowski, Brady would have to build a connection with the Patriots’ current tight end group composed of No. 1 tight end Matt LaCosse and veteran Ben Watson. The Patriots also have new faces in Lance Kendricks, Stephen Anderson, Ryan Izzo and Andrew Beck. Gronkowski decided to hang up his pads after nine seasons with the Patriots, but there is a possibility that he might return at some point in the season in case the team needs a playoff push.

Brady, Moss bring back memories

Brady also faces challenges with their wide receiving corps with Edelman out at least three weeks due to a thumb injury.

During camp, Brady will try to establish a strong rapport with Maurice Harris, N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers. Brady insisted that it would not take two days to get to the top and the Patriots have to grind it everyday for the whole season. Brady added that if the Patriots want to be the best team, they have to compete as hard as they can to reach their goal of winning a seventh Super Bowl trophy.

In the third day of camp, Brady threw deep balls to former teammate, Hall of Fame wideout Randy Moss, who was among several former Patriots who visited camp on Saturday. After practice, Brady threw passes to Moss, bringing back the memories of their almost four years as teammates. During that span, Brady and Moss connected on 193 passes for 2,946 yards with 39 touchdowns.

Michel returns to camp

Running back Sony Michel, the team’s 2018 first-round pick, joined the team’s training camp after missing the Patriots’ four spring practices and the first two days of camp. After the Patriots’ first padded training of the season, Michel said it felt good returning to the field after he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee over the offseason. Michel said his knee felt good after his limited practice, and he will keep on working to get it stronger as he prepares for his second season. Michel played 13 games last season, rushing for 931 yards and six touchdowns on 209 times. In the playoffs, Michel stepped up his game, recording 71 carries for 336 yards with six touchdowns. He also scored the lone touchdown in the Patriots 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.