FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady described newly acquired wide receiver Josh Gordon as “really eager to get in there and learn everything” through three practices, but acknowledged they have a long way to go to develop a rapport.
“Look, he’s been here for a few days, so we’re working at it every day, and every day you try to make improvements,” Brady said Friday.
One obstacle they are working through is Gordon being limited in practice all week with a hamstring injury. Gordon is officially questionable for Sunday night’s game at the Detroit Lions, giving him a 50-50 chance to play.
If Gordon plays, Brady hinted it wouldn’t be a large role.
“It’s up to the coaches to decide those things,” Brady said. “You could limit the number of plays and try to do that, and I think we’ve done that plenty of times. That’s any time you get new players, that’s what you try to do.”
Brady, coach Bill Belichick and others have kept their remarks on Gordon brief this week, as it seems they made a concerted effort this week to downplay his arrival.
Meanwhile, Gordon has yet to address reporters since the Patriots acquired him in a trade from the Cleveland Browns on Monday. He also avoided the locker room over the last three days when reporters were present. Gordon’s locker is directly to the left of Brady’s.
“Coach decides a lot of those things. We just kind of show up and a lot of those things happen,” Brady said of Gordon’s locker placement. “Even if you’re next to me, or across, or down, or defense, I think it’s just important to try to get to know everybody in whatever way you possibly can because we’re all here to try to do the same thing … we’re just trying to get on the same page.”
Along those lines, Belichick likes what Gordon has done this week, saying he’s done as much as possible since his arrival.
“I think Josh is a smart kid. He’s worked hard. He’s picked up a lot,” Belichick said.
Gordon has been suspended by the NFL for most of the past four seasons because of multiple drug violations. Asked about Gordon’s past struggles with substance abuse, and what the Patriots can do to help him, Belichick deflected.
“I wouldn’t talk about another player’s personal or injury situations, so I’m not going to do that,” he said.
As for Gordon’s new teammates, they have been welcoming.
“We all know he’s a good player. Excited to have him here and he seems excited to get to work,” said safety Devin McCourty, one of the team’s captains. “We’ll see how it all shakes out.”
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower recalled a 2013 game when Gordon had 7 catches for 151 yards and 1 touchdown against the Patriots.
“He was a monster then, and he’s still a monster now,” Hightower said. “He’s a tremendous athlete, a great receiver. Glad to have him.”