“We love Josh. I love Josh. Just glad to have him back,” said wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who grew close to Gordon last season. “He looks good. When you don’t see one of your brothers in a long time, and then you see him, it’s definitely refreshing.”
Gordon remains on the non-football injury list, so he isn’t allowed to participate in the team’s full practice. In the locker room, he has a spot next to 38-year-old tight end Benjamin Watson. He is two spots away from quarterback Tom Brady.
“He’s a great player, great guy. It’s a pleasure to see him around again,” running back Rex Burkhead said of Gordon, whose smile during the practice warm-up was noticeable. “Of course, we’re all rooting for him and hoping he does well. He’s a great addition to our team.”
Gordon, who is once again wearing No. 10, will not be allowed to play in the Patriots’ preseason game Thursday at home against the Carolina Panthers, which was part of the terms of the conditional reinstatement announced by the NFL on Friday.
Teammates are looking forward to his eventual return to the field.
“He’s a physical specimen, we all know that,” Dorsett said. “Even for what he did last year, he helped this team a lot. We’re definitely hoping he can come back and do the same.”
Gordon had 40 receptions for 720 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games for the Patriots last season. While teammates were more expansive in their remarks about Gordon on Monday, coach Bill Belichick was not.
Belichick sarcastically referred to the brief statement he released Saturday, saying he had nothing to add to it. Then, after being asked four straight questions on Gordon, Belichick turned to humor.
“He hasn’t even been on the field yet. I think I covered it. Is there another line of questioning? Or can the witness step down now?” he said with a smile.