Indeed it was.
The much-anticipated debut of wide receiver Josh Gordon came on Sunday as the New England Patriots faced an unfamiliar hurdle early on in this 2018 season. Although he didn’t haul in a touchdown pass in his debut (Gordon caught two balls for 32 yards), his two catches came on big third-down plays, including a 19-yard gain on a third-and-long early in the game.
“It took a lot of effort and time and work put in studying,” Gordon said after the Patriots 38-7 win over the Dolphins. “All around, just a concerted effort from the training staff and what I could do on my end and try to make it work. But, it was an awesome experience and I really enjoyed it and a great opportunity.”
Sunday was the first time since November 23rd, 2014 that Gordon was on the winning side of a football game. Of course, at that time he was a member of the Cleveland Browns. To put it in perspective, at that time the Patriots had only won three Super Bowl titles and the term “Dorito Dink” would draw a confused response from football fans alike. Needless to say, it was a long time ago. Now, Gordon can experience what it is like to win consistently…if he takes advantage of the opportunity.
“I have no doubt I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Gordon. “I’m more than blessed. I’m extremely grateful to be put in this scenario. I think the only thing right for me to do is take full advantage of it. I’m loving it, I’m enjoying it, the guys here are great, it’s a real home environment and I feel as comfortable as ever here. It’s awesome.”
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It is easy to draw distinctions between Gordon’s current team and his former. From the winning culture to the organizational stability, many, if not all of the positives favor the Patriots. One of those positives is catching passes from Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback of all time. Before Brady on Sunday? Take your pick. Gordon has caught passes from Johnny Manziel, Brian Hoyer, Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, and the list goes on.
In his big 2013 season with the Browns in which he caught 87 passes for 1,684 yards, the quarterbacks throwing him the ball were Campbell, Weeden, and Hoyer. The possibilities with Brady, even at 41, seem limitless. If, and there is always an ‘IF’, he can put it all together both on and off the field. It helps that, according to Gordon himself, one of his biggest supporters IS Brady.
“I mean, it’s awesome, just period, catching a pass from Tom at any point in time,” said Gordon. “He’s been rooting for me, and it’s been awesome to have his support and his love, as well as the rest of the teammates and staff here. You know, Tom’s a passionate guy and I love that, and I love the game of football and I think we’re going to mesh just fine.”
In a short period of time, he has managed to make a real positive impression on his teammates. Especially Brady, who had no hesitations about throwing him the ball when his number was called. In addition, the fact that Gordon was out during a two-minute offense late in the first half is a testament to the work he has put in up to this point. It’s also one small step in what could be a great football and life story.
“He’s put in a lot of work, a lot of time trying to understand where to line up and what to do, and he came up with some big plays today,” said Brady after the game. “He kind of got us going in certain areas. Everyone played pretty good who was out there today, so it was great to have him out there.”