Since Matthew Slater was drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Patriots, he's seen his fair share of players come through the team's receiver room.
Josh Gordon, acquired by the Patriots Monday in a trade with the Cleveland Browns, might be the most gifted receiver Slater has played with. The problem for Gordon has never been his skill level on the field, but rather his issues off the field with substance abuse.
Since leading the NFL in receiving yards in 2013, the Baylor product has only played in 11 games. He was suspended for the 2015 and 2016 seasons for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
The Patriots need production at the receiver position, and Gordon needs a team to help him reach his true potential. It may be the perfect marriage.
"It’s our responsibility as teammates to make sure he feels welcome and supported in our locker room," Slater said. "Just be there for him, that’s your role as a teammate and a leader to support your teammates.
"Josh is a proven talent, a very gifted young man who’s shown what he can do when he’s on the field."
The Patriots need a good receiver more than any contender in the league, and have the culture in place to turn one of the NFL's biggest "what-if" stories into the type of weapon Tom Brady hasn't had since Randy Moss.