FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — It took a few days before Bill Belichick finally admitted Friday that troubled but talented wide receiver Josh Gordon is a New England Patriot.
The trade bringing Gordon, who played in just 11 games with the Cleveland Browns since 2013 due to NFL suspensions, was announced by both teams on Monday. Gordon and a seventh-round draft pick went to New England for a fifth-rounder. The New England coach then refused to talk about it on Tuesday when it hit the NFL transactions wire. Belichick then said the trade still wasn’t done on Wednesday, when Gordon was on the practice field.
Belichick doesn’t talk to the media on Thursdays. On Friday, he said matter of factly, as usual, “Since the last time we met, we officially added Josh and Cyrus (Jones, re-signed) to the roster, so it’s good to get them here. I’d say really in both cases, those two guys have done about as much as they can do in the few days that they’ve been here, or been back in Cyrus’ case. We’ll see how it goes.”
Belichick refused to talk about Gordon’s off-field problems, but noted his new receiver was learning quickly. “I think Josh is a smart kid,” he said. “He’s worked hard. He picked up a lot.”
Asked if Gordon, who played in the first Browns games this season and is hampered by a sore hamstring, is the type of talent that doesn’t often come available on the trade market, Belichick added, “Look, all players in this league are talented players or they wouldn’t be in this league. We’ll see.”
Limited in practice, Gordon, who missed 43 of his last 48 games, could make his debut with his new team Sunday night in Detroit when the Patriots (1-1) face former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and his Lions (0-2).
“(He’s) been eager to get in there and learn everything we’re doing and, you know, just trying to acclimate himself to what the program is,” Tom Brady said Friday.
As far as Gordon playing Sunday after limited exposure to the Patriots’ complicated playbook, Brady said, “It’s just up to the coaches. I think if they’re in there it’s up to the coaches to decide those things. I don’t think anyone is going to put anyone out there if they don’t know what they’re doing. Now you can limit the number of plays and try and do that, I think we’ve done that plenty of times; anytime you get new players that’s what you try to do.”
Asked Thursday about Gordon, who had a big game against New England in 2013, Devin McCourty, stumbled a bit and said, “That’s a lot of, ‘I don’t knows.’ I don’t. He’s only been here for I think two days now so I wouldn’t say I can formulate an opinion on him. But, we all know he’s a good player.
“Excited to have him here and he seems excited to get to work. We’ll see how it all shakes out.”
NOTES: TE Rob Gronkowski, “limited” in practice Wednesday (ankle) was back at “full participation” Friday. … Brady completed his first NFL pass against the Lions on Nov. 23, 2000, but that was at the Pontiac Silverdome. He was 1 for 3 for 6 yards, the completion to Rod Rutledge in a 34-9 Thanksgiving Day loss. That was the only game Brady saw any action in his rookie season. . The Patriots lead the series with the Lions 7-4 and come into this game 16-9 on “Sunday Night Football,” 10-2 in their last 12. . New England hasn’t lost two games in a row since 2015 and is 12-1 since 2002 (the loss in 2012) after a September loss. . Jones, the Patriots’ second draft choice in 2016 and injured all last year, was cut by the club at the end of camp and was on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad when New England decided to bring him back.