Patriots News: Josh Gordon Removed from NFI List, Returns to Practice

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2019

New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon warms up at NFL football practice, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

The New England Patriots activated wide receiver Josh Gordon from the non-football injury list Sunday, paving the way for him to be in their Week 1 lineup.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the news after Gordon was spotted practicing in full pads for the first time. He was placed on NFI after the NFL reinstated him Aug. 16 from an indefinite suspension because of repeated positive drug tests.

Had Gordon not been removed from NFI, he would have had to miss at least the first six games of the regular season. Gordon recorded 40 receptions for 720 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games with New England last season. He left the team in December to work on personal issues after failing another drug test.

The Patriots released Maurice Harris in a move to clear room for Gordon, per Field Yates of ESPN. Harris had missed most of the last two weeks of practice with an injury.

Julian Edelman and Demaryius Thomas previously returned to practice last week. Edelman had been sitting out with a thumb injury, while Thomas was recovering from a ruptured Achilles suffered last season with the Houston Texans. First-round pick N'Keal Harry remains out of the lineup with an injury, but when he returns, the Patriots arguably have their best receiving corps in recent memory.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Gordon have reportedly developed a bond off the field. The pair worked out this offseason before Gordon was reinstated by the NFL, and Brady and his wife, Gisele Bundchen, invited the wideout to dinner last season to help his acclimation, according to ESPN's Jeff Darlington (h/t Ryan Hannable of WEEI).

"In general, I have had a great relationship with a lot of the guys—almost every single guy I have ever played with," Brady told The Greg Hill Show when asked about his and Gordon's relationship. "Relationships are a two-way street. That is part of what makes a real healthy relationship. I have had a quarterback-receiver relationship, whether it is with Julian (Edelman), or Troy Brown, or Wes (Welker) or Randy (Moss).

"We talk a lot. We communicate a lot and you want to see everybody that you work with and play with be the best they can be and you try and support and empower the best way that you can. It's different for everybody. Everybody comes from different places and I always try and do the best I can do."

In 2014, Gordon led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards and had nine touchdowns while emerging as one of the most dynamic talents in the sport. However, he has played in only 22 games the last five seasons because of off-field issues. He was suspended for the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons.