The Patriots can’t count on Josh Gordon being ready to start for them Week 1, but they do want the NFL to give him that opportunity.
Tom Brady understands that the Patriots are a better football team with a healthy and focused Josh Gordon on the field. That’s a big reason why he continues to spend time with the suspended receiver even though he isn’t permitted to participate in team activities.
New England’s front office “has hope” that the NFL may reinstate Gordon before the 2019 regular season begins. The League, predictably, hasn’t seen fit to comment on the wide receiver’s status since Roger Goodell’s March interview where he expressed a desire for the player to “get his life back on track.”
Brady, in particular, isn’t just sitting back and hoping that Gordon can do the things necessary to qualify for reinstatement. He posted a social media video of his work with him on the field this week. That doesn’t represent a change in the way Brady has treated the enigmatic receiver. Reportedly, he previously included him in family dinners to help him feel comfortable with his situation in New England.
On the field, there’s no question that the Patriots could really benefit from Gordon being cleared for action. The team’s receiving options outside of Julian Edelman are big question marks. The retirement of Rob Gronkowski leaves the team without the sort of match-up problem they provided opponents on a weekly basis last year. The team hopes N’Keal Harry can produce as a rookie, but the team’s history of success with first round wide receivers is questionable at best.
It’s safe to assume that Bill Belichick and team’s brain trust aren’t counting on Gordon to be a factor in 2019. Even if the NFL does see fit to reinstate him, his past history makes trusting him to remain engaged and present for a full season a massive gamble. The Patriots should accept anything they get from Gordon this season as a bonus. Counting on him to be a staple of their offense all year long would set the team up to take a massive risk.
Gordon has the physical talent to be a star for the Patriots, but the chances of him living up to his talent this season are pretty small. Even so, credit Brady and company for trying to give him the help he needs to succeed in life and football.