Ankle 'improving' for Patriots' Gronkowski

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The boot is off and Rob Gronkowski’s ankle is feeling much better.

New England’s All-Pro tight end shed his walking boot in time for media day Tuesday, and sounded optimistic he’d play against the New York Giants in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

“I’m improving every day,” Gronkowski said. “The only reason it’s getting so blown up is because it’s the Super Bowl. It’s just like any other injury during any other week.”

Gronkowski, who suffered a high left ankle sprain in the AFC title game Jan. 22, said he could be anywhere from in perfect health to “2 percent” for the game, adding that it’s still six days away.

PRO BOWL: Criticism of the play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl reached a new level when Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers blasted the effort of some NFC teammates Tuesday.

“I’ll be honest with you,” Rodgers said on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee. “I was a little bit disappointed. I felt like some of the guys on the NFC side embarrassed themselves.”

The AFC routed the NFC 59-41 in a game that drew boos at Aloha Stadium for its lack of early intensity. Rodgers, who started and played the first quarter for the NFC, didn’t name specific players.

“I was just surprised that some of the guys either didn’t want to play or when they were in there didn’t put any effort into it,” Rodgers said.

STEELERS: The team interviewed former Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley for the team’s vacant offensive coordinator position.

Haley, fired by the Chiefs in December, met with Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin on Tuesday.

The Steelers need to replace Bruce Arians, who was not retained.

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