NASHVILLE - The biggest Patriots news while the team’s been in Tennessee involved a player who’s not even here. Josh Gordon.
And while his reinstatement was widely seen as a boon for the Patriots, it sounds like Bill Belichick is going to step carefully with Gordon’s return.
Should anything be read into Belichick’s perfunctory, somewhat non-committal statement? Given it’s all we’ve got to go on?
And what to do we read into it? The Patriots aren’t clearing a place at the table for Gordon just yet.
The statement Belichick released means he’s now short-circuited any attempts to ask him about Gordon in the postgame press conference. And, to be honest, there really isn’t anywhere Belichick could go with the questions anyway in terms of projecting how Gordon will fit.
Until they sit down with Gordon, speak with him and then put him on the field and see how he responds, everything is up in the air.
The presumption is that he’ll help.
But one thing the Patriots were careful to do last season after trading for Gordon was manage expectations. In contrast to the foolishness we witnessed in last year’s "Hard Knocks" when the Browns and then-head coach Hue Jackson practically fixated on Gordon in the receiver's training camp leave of absence and return, the Patriots remained low-key and operated on an almost minute-to-minute basis with Gordon.
Which is kind of how it has to be with someone whose behavior pattern has been so unpredictable.
Everyone knows how talented Gordon is. And I’ve yet to hear anyone say he’s not a person worth rooting for. But it’s up to Gordon to prove to the Patriots that they can count on him. He’s been given the chance – again – it’s ultimately up to him to do something with it.
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