When the New England Patriots acquired Mohamed Sanu via trade from the Atlanta Falcons, the follow-up move to create an open roster spot for the wide receiver was releasing tight end Eric Tomlinson — or so the team initially announced. However, Tomlinson was not cut on that day and the team instead made another somewhat surprising move: the Patriots placed Josh Gordon on injured reserve with a minor injury designation.
This designation was crucial to the transaction, as it forced the team to part ways with the 28-year-old as soon as he was healthy enough to play again. Yesterday, that follow-up move was made and New England officially released Gordon from its injured reserve list; he will now go through the waiver wire and given his immense talent is a realistic candidate to get claimed by a team instead of passing through onto the open market.
The Patriots’ Josh Gordon era therefore will come to an end today, leaving not just the team without one of its most productive pass catchers this season — Gordon caught 20 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown — but also the general public with one big question: why did New England decide to release the veteran who by all accounts had a good chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady and was a top-two option at his position?
The full story, as is the case with most moves decisions by the organization that can be classified as surprising, will likely never come to light but according to NBC Boston’s Tom Curran there might be a simple explanation that at least played a role in Gordon’s eventual release: Curran visited NBC’s PFT Live on Friday morning and said that the wide receiver was “showing signs of undependability” that extended beyond the gridiron.
He went on to point out that there would be rumors around Foxborough about the team having issues with Gordon being late to meetings and coaches having a hard time locating his whereabouts. The veteran receiver, who spent a considerable portion of his time with the organization suspended by the league for violating its substance abuse policy, did apparently also not appear to display the work ethic the Patriots expect.
One thing that needs to be kept in mind is that we are talking about rumors here and not factual reports, so there certainly is a chance of exaggeration or even inaccuracy. Given the limited information there is available about the Gordon ordeal at this point in time, however, these rumors at least add a new perspective to the equation. The truth and the Patriots’ decision-making are multi-faceted, of course, but there now at least appears to be a chance that the wideout himself played an active part in his departure.