BOSTON (CBS) — There’s little doubt that the heart and soul of the Patriots locker room is Matthew Slater, the 12-year veteran special teams ace.

So, with news breaking this weekend that wide receiver Josh Gordon has been reinstated from his indefinite suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, Slater was asked after Saturday night’s preseason win about welcoming back his teammate.

“We are excited,” Slater said. “I’ll say this: Football is number two. We want to see him first and foremost doing well as an individual, doing well as a man, and we want to support him however we can. We’re just going to take this one day at a time, which is all any of us can do. And we’ll see what tomorrow brings and then we’ll let the day after that worry about it when it comes around.”

Slater expects his teammates and coaching staff to provide as much support as possible for Gordon.

“I think having support is always a good thing, no matter who you are, no matter what life has brought your way. I think support is good, and hopefully he finds that he has support here,” Slater said. “I think that’s really all I can say about it now. What’s good, what’s not good remains to be seen.”

Earlier on Saturday, head coach Bill Belichick released a statement regarding Gordon’s return to the team.

“For the past eight months, Josh’s situation has been entirely a league matter,” Belichick said. “When Josh returns to our program, we will evaluate the entire situation and do what we feel is best for Josh and the team.”


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