You may have heard it by now: yesterday morning, news broke about New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon and him temporarily stepping away from football to focus on his mental health. Shortly afterwards, the NFL announced that the 27-year old had been indefinitely suspended for violating his reinstatement terms. Gordon’s well-being and him hopefully getting the help he needs is the main concern in all of this, of course.
That being said, football life goes on for a Patriots organization that will have to quickly turn its attention to the Buffalo Bills — and Bill Belichick is once again leading by example: New England’s head coach addressed the media today for the first time since yesterday’s developments, and opened up with a short statement about Josh Gordon and how his club will handle the matter moving forward.
“I spoke with Josh yesterday morning, as I have several times since he’s been here,” Belichick said to start today’s press conference. “It’s obviously an unfortunate situation, and personally, I wish him the very best, as we all do on this team. He’s made a statement, the organization’s made a statement, the league’s made a statement. I’ve spoken on him at length over the last three months, and so I don’t really have anything at this point to add to that. It’s a private matter, and I hope that he’s able to deal with it successfully.”
89 words was all it took for Belichick to deal with the story in front of the media, and he quickly shifted the conversation to what lies ahead for him and his team: hosting a division rival with a win securing the Patriots their 10th straight AFC East title. “Otherwise, we’re moved on to Buffalo and the big challenge ahead of us on Sunday,” Belichick said. “Today will be a big day for us, and we need to make the most of it and be ready to go.”
As expected, Belichick’s statement on Gordon and the team being “on to Buffalo” was not the end of the (rather one-sided) conversation. However, the coach did not want to talk about anything else other than the Patriots’ upcoming opponent or several players on his own active roster — one that Gordon no longer is a part of. The questions and answers therefore went as had to be expected:
Q: How difficult is it to get this news on a Thursday in week 16 when you guys are getting ready for the stretch run?
BB: Yeah, well, it is what it is.
Q: Do you feel like you guys did all that you could for Josh while he was here?
BB: Yeah, I’m not going to address or make any comments on that.
Q: Are you going to continue to work with him or part ways?
BB: We’re going to get ready for Buffalo and play Buffalo on Sunday.
Q: Did Josh impress you with his ability to fit in and be productive right away? That seems fairly rare for receivers.
BB: Yeah, Ben [Volin], we’re going to focus on Buffalo. I think I’ve commented on that multiple times. I’m sure we have plenty of transcripts on that if you want to read up on them.
Belichick made it clear that he had no intentions of adding any more to the Josh Gordon story than has already been said via statements made by the club and himself. In this way, he is doing what he and the rest of the organization have been doing for the past two decades and what has made the Patriots the most successful team of the 21st century: at least publicly keeping the focus on what lies ahead.