ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Rob Gronkowski says he’s getting fewer ticket requests from family and friends wanting to see New England play the Bills in Buffalo because they don’t like being stuck in the upper level of New Era Field.

“They don’t even ask me anymore,” the Patriots tight end and Buffalo-area native said during a conference call Wednesday.

Asked whether the drop in interest might also have to do with his hometown friends not wanting to witness yet another Bills loss to New England, Gronkowski paused before breaking into a laugh.

“I don’t know,” is all Gronkowski could muster in advance of New England (9-2) traveling to play the Bills (6-5) on Sunday.

Terry and Kim Pegula purchased the Bills in 2014. In truth, Patriots Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady have owned them for much longer during what’s become a 17-year run of dominance over their AFC East rival.

The Patriots are 29-5 against the Bills since Belichick was hired in 2000. With a 15-2 record at Buffalo, Belichick has more wins at Orchard Park, New York, than any Bills coach since Wade Phillips went 17-7 from 1998-2000.

Brady, meantime, is 26-3 against Buffalo, a win shy of breaking Brett Favre’s NFL record of most wins by a quarterback against one opponent; Favre did it against the Lions.

Gronkowski, in his eighth season, was nearly caught off-guard when asked if he might empathize with Bills fans when it comes to losing to New England.

“That’s kind of a trick question,” Gronkowski said, laughing. “It’s kind of throwing me off, so I just don’t know.”

Brady sat out practice Wednesday with what the team says is an Achilles tendon injury.

Brady has started all 11 games this season. He also hasn’t missed a game because of an injury since 2008, when he suffered a season-ending knee injury on opening day.

Brady missed one practice last week before the Patriots’ win over Miami because of the same Achilles tendon injury.

The 40-year-old is coming off a four-touchdown performance in the victory over the Dolphins and has thrown for 3,374 yards, 26 touchdowns and three interceptions this season.

Tackles Marcus Cannon (ankle) and LaAdrian Waddle (ankle), receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder) and linebacker Trevor Reilly (concussion) also missed practice.

GIANTS: Co-owner John Mara says there was probably a better way for the team to handle the benching of two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning after 13 seasons.

But he was at a loss to know what it was.

Speaking for the first time since Coach Ben McAdoo announced Tuesday that Geno Smith would start against Oakland, Mara said Wednesday that he made a couple mistakes in handling the situation.

Not being at the team’s headquarters Tuesday when Manning was devastated by the decision topped the list.

Mara also said that he miscalculated Manning’s reaction, thinking the 36-year-old face of the franchise would accept starting his 211th consecutive game on Sunday and then handing off to Smith in second half.

The Giants placed cornerback Janoris Jenkins on injured reserve, saying that Jenkins is having ankle surgery. He was hurt on Thanksgiving in a loss to Washington.

DOLPHINS: Quarterback Jay Cutler is out of concussion protocol and will start when the team tries to break a five-game losing streak Sunday against Denver, says Coach Adam Gase.

Cutler practiced Wednesday after missing Sunday’s loss at New England, which dropped Miami to 4-7. Cutler also missed a game earlier this season because of cracked ribs. Matt Moore is 0-2 as his substitute.

Cutler ranks 34th in the NFL in yards per attempt at a career-worst 5.9.

FALCONS: Running back Devonta Freeman cleared concussion protocol after missing two games and could return Sunday against Minnesota.

Coach Dan Quinn said Wednesday Freeman has full clearance to practice “with no limitations.”

Freeman, the league’s highest paid running back, has suffered two concussions this year and three in three years.

49ERS LINEBACKER Eric Reid says he left The Players Coalition because founder Malcolm Jenkins excluded Colin Kaepernick from meeting, and asked players if they would stop protesting the anthem if the NFL made a charitable donation to causes they support.

“Malcolm did text me this morning asking if we would be comfortable ending our demonstrations if the NFL made a donation,” Reid said Wednesday. “At that point, that was the last straw for me. He had a conversation with the NFL. We agreed that multiple people would be part of the conversations with the league so it just wouldn’t be him. He didn’t stand by his word on that. At no point did we ever communicate an agreement with the NFL to end the protest.”

Jenkins, a safety for the Philadelphia Eagles, said he was surprised Reid withdrew from the coalition after having a conversation with him Tuesday night. He said even though they had disagreements, he thought the talk ended on good terms.