BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady has a new weapon for his arsenal, as the Patriots acquired talented but troubled receiver Josh Gordon from the Cleveland Browns on Monday.
If it works out, the move fills a glaring need on the Patriots, giving Brady a legitimate downfield threat to take some attention off tight end Rob Gronkowski. Bill Belichick and company have made nearly 30 moves at the wide receiver position since the start of the offseason, and there’s a chance they’ve finally found a solution in Gordon.
But the 27-year-old also comes with plenty of question marks, bringing a lengthy history of off-field issues with him. Those include battles with drug and alcohol abuse, which led to him being suspended for much of the last five years (he’s played in just 11 of a possible 66 games).
Brady and other leaders in the New England locker room will embrace their new teammate, hoping that he can turn his career around in a Patriots uniform. Gordon could be a dynamic piece in the New England offense and return to his All Pro form from 2013 (when he led the league with 1,646 receiving yards) with Brady, but talking to Jim Gray for his weekly interview on Westwood One on Monday night, the Patriots QB said it would be unfair to place any expectations on his new receiver.
“That’s not fair and I have never met Josh personally, just like I hadn’t met some of the guys who have come in the last couple of weeks. We’ll see how it goes this week. Hopefully he can work hard, put the team first and end up helping us in any role he can find for himself on the team,” said Brady.
“I am going to do what I have done the last couple of weeks and just try and work with whoever is there, and see if they can come in and make an impact and make a role on this team. It is really up to the individual what kind of role they can carve out for themselves. That is kind of how I feel,” he added.
The Browns were going to release Brown after he showed up over the weekend with a hamstring injury and was inactive for Sunday’s loss to the Saints. But teams starting calling about a possible trade, and in the end, the Patriots got the deal done by sending a fifth-round pick to Cleveland.
Gordon could see his first game action with the Patriots Sunday night against the Detroit Lions, but he’ll have to work hard in practice to earn Brady’s trust. Asked how long that process takes, Brady told Gray that it’s different in every situation.
“Any time you get someone in the middle of a season, there’s obviously a lot of things that have happened that got the team to a certain point that they weren’t a part of,” Brady said. “So, I’m not sure how many of those things matter, but you’d like to try to get up to speed as quickly as possible and it’s really up to the individuals. All these things need to play themselves out and I’m not going to project anything. I’m just going to go try to be the positive, enthusiastic leader that I am and try to be a great quarterback and try to embrace whoever is on the team.
“You want to know that the guys you are lining up next to that they’ve got it — they’ve got their assignment, they’ve got their responsibility taken care of,” Brady continued. “That frees you up to think about what your responsibilities are. But if you are worried about this guy, that guy, this or that, it just takes away from what your focus needs to be as an individual. Everybody wants good teammates that can focus on as an individual what they have to do in order to help the team.”
In 41 career games in the NFL, Gordon has 180 receptions and 16 touchdowns.