BOSTON (CBS) — Josh Gordon’s career resurgence with the Patriots appeared to have hit a bump in the road, when NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday afternoon that the receiver was facing team discipline for tardiness.
According to Rapoport and Mike Giardi, the Patriots were planning to keep Gordon on the sideline to start Monday night’s game in Buffalo for several offensive series — roughly the entire first quarter.
Giardi said that the punishment was a result of Gordon being late for the team’s bus while departing Foxboro for Buffalo on Sunday, and also for being late to a meeting.
With the Monday Night Football matchup looming, the reported punishment took place in a high-profile environment, and it made quick headlines across the country.
But then the game started, and the Patriots received the opening kickoff, and Josh Gordon was on the field for the first offensive snap. He remained on the field throughout the entire series, getting targeted by Brady on a deep ball on a third-and-14. Gordon appeared to have a step on Tre’Davious White but couldn’t haul in the long bomb from Brady.
So, it would appear as though the reports of the punishment were premature or inaccurate.
After the game — which the Patriots won, 25-6 — Gordon was asked directly about the reports.
“That’s going to be a question you’re going to have to ask Coach about. But as it relates to the game, I was available, so that’s a plus,” Gordon said.
Gordon was later given the opportunity to clear his name, so to speak, if the reports were indeed untrue.
“I gotta check on everything, you know. I’m not too sure about what’s out there myself,” Gordon said. “I can’t even give you an answer.”
When head coach Bill Belichick headed to the podium shortly after Gordon, he seemed to be dismissive of the report.
“Yeah, I don’t know. You’d have to talk to whoever wrote that,” Belichick said. “I have no idea.”
Gordon, 27, has seen a rapid increase in playing time since being acquired by the Patriots in a mid-September trade. He played in 95 percent of the Patriots’ offensive snaps last week in Chicago, up from 81 percent a week before. He only played 18 offensive snaps in each of his first two games with New England.
In his four games with the Patriots, he’s caught 13 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown.
Gordon returned to the NFL last season after missing the previous two years and most of the 2014 season as he dealt with suspensions from substance abuse and spent time in rehabilitation facilities.