Patriots

Josh Gordon leaving the Patriots hurts, on many different levels

Josh Gordon leaving the Patriots hurts, on many different levels

There will be a lot of “told ya so” activity out there today.

Those who had “Josh Gordon won’t make it to the end of the regular season with the Patriots” can take a bow. Congratulations.

But any pride-swollen people who think they were proven “right?” The ones that thought signing Josh Gordon was a mistake and who are now shaming the Patriots for opening their program to Gordon in the first place?

They can screw.

Because a 27-year-old with a host of hard-to-conquer demons acknowledging that -- a week before Christmas -- he’s once again succumbing to them isn’t cause for high-fives.

And demeaning the Patriots for giving the kid almost 90 days of safe harbor in a system that supported him -- regardless of their motives for doing so -- says more about the people who’ll do the demeaning than it does about the Patriots or Gordon.

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Eleven games the Patriots got from him. Three months. There must have been a lot of good days mixed in there for Gordon. There were certainly a lot of positive reviews that he was picking things up, working diligently, showing up on time, etc.

But the demons are never really gone entirely. They’re just down in the cellar, in the dark, doing pushups and waiting for an opening to muscle their way back in.

And when you think about it, for a man plunked down in an unfamiliar suburban town, living in some rented place with people he just met smilingly eyeing his every move for signs of danger, the pressure of work, the scrutiny of the media, the financial burdens caused by years of fighting this stuff? Three months is nothing to sneer at.

I didn’t think bringing Gordon in was an awesome idea. On the field, he gave the Patriots much more than I expected he would. And the Patriots probably gave him more than Gordon expected.

This week was the first time there was any indication anything was off. Against the Steelers, Gordon was targeted just twice. He caught one pass for 19 yards. The other bounced off his forearm from short range. The two targets were the fewest since his first week here.

He’d become less communicative in the past week. Walled off. Even with a locker adjacent to Tom Brady and the often-expressed public support of his teammates and coaches, he was becoming less engaged.  

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Only Gordon can truly answer whether he’s stepping aside proactively to address what he’s dealing with or reactively based on the report he’s facing an indefinite suspension. But he also took time off during training camp with the Browns to address his mental health concerns.  In the final analysis, what difference does it make? He went south mentally. He’s seeking treatment.

As for the football component?

Gordon isn’t going to be around for the end of the regular season or the playoffs.

For a 9-5 team that still hasn’t figured out who it is offensively and had come to rely on Gordon as its best outside receiver, that hurts.

Cordarrelle Patterson, Phillip Dorsett and Chris Hogan aren’t going to draw coverage like Gordon did. Dorsett and Hogan can't go and get it like Gordon did, nor can either of them make yards after the catch like him.

Patterson is an amazing athlete but the Patriots have all season long been reticent to put too much on him as a wide receiver. Now they may have to.

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The fact is, Gordon was brought in at the end of September because none of those players were good enough or dependable enough through the first three weeks of the season.

Julian Edelman’s foot injuries have robbed him of some speed and separation ability. Rob Gronkowski is playing better but -- with teams now being able to lob extra defenders his way -- that doesn’t bode well.

Josh Gordon was a Band-Aid on a pretty bad cut. The Band-Aid just fell off and -- after all this time -- turns out the cut is still there.

Football-wise, Gordon was a life preserver the Patriots were able to cling to for 11 weeks.

But the reason they were bobbing on the waves in the first place was that -- after losing Danny Amendola in free agency and trading Brandin Cooks before they had to pay him a fat 2018 salary -- they bet on Kenny Britt, Jordan Matthews, Dorsett and Patterson to mitigate the losses.

They didn’t.

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Maybe if Brady worked with them at passing camps and voluntary workouts and took everybody up to the mountains in the offseason, things would have been different. But probably not. They’ve all been around the league long enough to have established their level as “meh.”

It’s all hindsight and what-ifs now anyway.

Looking forward?

It’s too bad it went this way. No, it’s not a surprise. I hope Gordon takes with him some of the good days he had here as proof he absolutely has it in him and -- while I think the Patriots could have stocked the position better in the offseason -- I don’t deride them for giving him a chance. And their chances of going to a third straight Super Bowl and an eighth straight AFC Championship Game are now even more slim.

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Antonio Brown's release has approval of many in Patriots organization

Antonio Brown's release has approval of many in Patriots organization

Antonio Brown getting released on Friday apparently was a breath of fresh air for many within the Patriots organization.

New England parted ways with the troubled wide receiver on the same day intimidating text messages sent by Brown to one of his accusers were leaked to the public. It was only the latest chapter in the seemingly neverending Antonio Brown saga, and the Patriots finally decided enough was enough.

According to Mike Giardi of NFL Network, the team cutting Brown was well received by the folks in Foxboro.

While some within the organization rejoiced upon hearing the news of Brown's release, quarterback Tom Brady showed support for his former wide receiver with a heartfelt message on Instagram.

Brown lasted only 11 days in New England and played in just one game -- last Sunday's 43-0 win over the Dolphins. The 31-year-old had four catches for 56 yards and one touchdown in his lone appearance in a Pats uniform.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

The most embarrassing moments in Jets history

The most embarrassing moments in Jets history

Ah, the New York Jets.

Year in and year out, the Patriots' AFC East rival just can't seem to get out of its own way. The franchise has been defined by embarrassing miscues and headlines for decades now, and its on-field product certainly hasn't helped its cause.

With the Patriots preparing for a matchup against the Jets on Sunday, we figured it would be worth taking a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the most laughable moments in the organization's history. In no particular order, here they are in all of their glory. . .