Since the Patriots traded for Josh Gordon, much of the discussion around the league has been centered on Gordon's ability to stay on the field. His substance abuse issues have been well-documented ever since his breakout year in 2013 and subsequent series of suspensions.
With this in mind, even with the presence of the infamous Patriot Way, questions have arisen about Gordon's impact in the locker room. But a former teammate in Cleveland had nothing but good things to say about Gordon, and believes that a change in scenery is exactly what he needs to capitalize on his immense talent.
Donte Whitner, a safety for the Browns from 2014-2016, praised Gordon's character in a recent interview with Boston Sports Tonight
"He's just a genuine guy. He's always there for his teammates, no matter if it's on the field, off the field... if you need him to do something for you, he'll do it."
When asked if Gordon would be a reliable teammate in the locker room, Whitner continued his praise, responding "Absolutely, positively, 100% I believe Josh Gordon will be a great teammate... I believe he'll be an upstanding citizen in the community, and I hope he goes out there and shows everybody that he still can play at a high level".
One of the bigger points of concern in the Josh Gordon saga is the Browns' decision to part ways with him. From the outside looking in, it does seem odd that the team stuck by Gordon in his struggles over the last several seasons, only to trade him one week into what's supposed to be his comeback season.
On Whitner's part, he believes the trade was nothing more than the breaking point in a relationship between a troubled player and the franchise that drafted him.
"I don't think they're saying they don't need this talented player, I think they're saying that we're tired of the things that came with you and you still haven't gotten on the football field for us consistently... they decided to separate and go their separate ways."
Whitner was confident, however, that a new beginning is what Gordon wanted and needed.
"I really believe that he wanted a fresh start, needed a fresh start, and wanted to team up with a top quarterback... hopefully, [the Browns] don't have to end up seeing him down the road."
Gordon has always been an exceptional talent in the NFL, and that was before he joined Tom Brady and the Patriots. If his issues are indeed behind him, the possibilities are endless for both Gordon and New England. Whitner, for one, seems to think that his move to the Northeast may be exactly what he needs to unlock that talent.
Josh Gordon is a Patriot, for now. Only time will tell if he stays that way, and contributes towards the march for another Super Bowl victory.