FOXBORO -- For the Patriots defenders who were around five years ago, it's probably a memory they'd like to forget. 

Josh Gordon caught seven passes for 151 yards and a touchdown in a 27-26 Patriots win over the Browns in Foxboro. He also had a 34-yard run. He was the best athlete on the field that day, and he was working on a talented corner in his prime, Aqib Talib, throughout. 

"He was a monster then and he's still a monster now," Dont'a Hightower (then a second-year linebacker), said on Wednesday. "He's a tremendous athlete. A great receiver. Glad to have him."

The Patriots had Gordon at practice for the first time on Wednesday. He was limited with a hamstring issue, an injury that was widely reported in the days leading up to his trade to the Patriots. 

Still, Lions coach Matt Patricia -- defensive coordinator for the Patriots on that December day at Gillette Stadium when Gordon went bonkers -- knows what kind of threat Gordon can be. 

He watched Gordon catch a slant on Talib and then outrun everyone on the field for an 80-yard score. 

"Obviously a tremendous player," Patricia said. "Again, I think unfortunately the last time I saw him, he caught a slant that he’s probably still running. Just a really huge play for them when he was in Cleveland. 

"Dangerous guy, vertical threat, big receiver, great body control, great hands, really will be a big challenge for us. For us not to have anything on tape as far as what they’re going to do with him, in that aspect also is a little bit difficult."


Time will tell just how much, if at all, Gordon will be able to contribute when the Patriots make their way to Detroit. But Hightower said he'll have the support of his new teammates should he come to them when he's not trying to catch up on the playbook.

"Do your job is a big mantra preached around here," Hightower said, "and I'm sure he's had that conversation with coach and all that other good stuff . . . I think he's going to have his hands full . . . 

"Whatever he needs, whatever questions he has, we're all here to help for that."