FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For a moment, Josh Gordon darted through the Patriots locker room on Monday. Wearing shorts and a gray Patriots sweatshirt, the wide receiver made his way through the local media contingent before vanishing into the training room.

When players exited the locker room for a team meeting, Gordon followed.

Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come for the Patriots and this wildly talented 28-year-old. Three days ago, the NFL reinstated Gordon, who was serving a suspension for violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement under the NFL drug policy. He was set to come back to Massachusetts on Sunday, but Monday marked the first practice and team meetings in Foxboro.

It’s clear that Gordon’s teammates are rooting for him.

“It’s just like when he first got here, just welcomed him back,” receiver Phillip Dorsett said. “We love Josh. I love Josh. I’m just glad to have him back. It’s good. It’s definitely good to see him. It’s refreshing.”

“I took a lot (from him last season). I enjoyed having Josh around last year. Kind of missed him when he left,” added receiver Damoun Patterson. “Yeah, it’s good to see him back around, doing good for himself.”

Gordon’s reinstatement is the first step in the process of him getting back on the field, but it’s not the only one.

The Patriots placed the receiver on the non-football injury list, which means he can’t currently play or practice. If Gordon isn’t activated off the NFI list by Week 1, he won’t be eligible to return to the practice field until Week 6 and he wouldn’t be able to play by Week 7. If he doesn’t return then, he would be placed on the season-ending injured reserve.

The NFI list is similar to the physically unable to perform list, but reserved for players with injuries or illnesses that happen away from the team. Gordon was present at practice on Monday, but wasn’t in uniform or pads, sporting a backwards white hat.

When asked about Gordon on Monday, Belichick said, “He hasn’t even been on the field yet. I think I’ve covered it. I have nothing more to add.”

Aside from getting healthy, Gordon, of course, has to stay on the right track with his sobriety. He was reinstated on a conditional basis from the NFL and has to make “appropriate progress on clinical care and other arrangements” while on the Patriots roster.

Gordon hasn’t been with the Patriot since last December when he left the game to focus on his mental health. In June, he worked out briefly with Tom Brady and attended the Patriots Super Bowl LIII ring ceremony. Aside from that, he’s been away from the team.

On Monday, Gordon’s locker was in the same row as Brady’s (two spots over) and directly next to Ben Watson.

“He’s good. He looks good,” Dorsett said. “It’s always definitely refreshing to see him. When haven’t you seen somebody, one of your brothers in a long time and you see them, it’s refreshing.”

If Gordon can get back on the field, he’d bring a huge boost to boost to the Patriots offense. Last year, he showed he was more than talented enough to help the Patriots win. Players said he was helpful on and off the field.

“You learn a lot watching Josh,” said Patterson, who was on the practice squad. “He’s been playing the game for a while. He can teach you a lot about running routes, getting open. He’s a useful guy to have around to learn from, especially for the younger guys in the room.”

“He’s a physical player, a physical specimen. We all know that,” Dorsett added. “Even with what he did last year, he helped the team a lot and we were definitely hoping he would come back and do the same.”

JULIAN EDELMAN returned to practice on Monday. The receiver was spotted wearing his jersey, pads and a helmet for the first time this summer since suffering a broken thumb. The news means that Edelman is coming off the non-football injury list and is eligible to play in the preseason – if the Patriots want him to suit up.

Edelman’s setback happened weeks prior to training camp. He broke the thumb during an offseason workout, away from Gillette Stadium. So far, the injury cost him to miss all 14 training camp practices and two preseason games. Edelman, however, has been present at each practice, working out.

Last week, in Nashville, Edelman put in work with the Patriots training staff before each practice began. The receiver looked good while running ladder and hurdle drills. Edelman’s return on Monday is a big boost for an offense that could soon get Gordon back. With Rob Gronkowski retired, Edelman is likely to be Tom Brady’s No. 1 target.

Receivers Phillip Dorsett, Maurice Harris and N’Keal Harry were all present and in pads on Monday. None of those three receivers played against the Titans due to injuries.

ACCORDING TO A source, the Patriots have informed Ryan Allen that they’ll be releasing him. In the end, the veteran punter lost a position battle with rookie Jake Bailey, who has impressed with his big leg and ability to handle kickoffs.

It shouldn’t take Allen long to find another job in the NFL. The seven-year veteran is coming off a fantastic performance in Super Bowl LIII. In the Patriots championship win, three of Allen’s five punts were pinned inside the Los Angeles Ram’s 10-yard line.

Last year’s Super Bowl win was Allen’s third with the Patriots.

Last season, Allen averaged 45.1 yards per punt and pinned 21 punts inside the 20-yard line. Allen has been solid for the Patriots over the last six seasons. An undrafted free agent in 2013, Allen beat out veteran Zoltan Mesko for the Patriots punter job. In a way, history repeated itself this offseason as Allen loses his job to a rookie.

In April, the Patriots traded up to drafted Bailey in the fifth round, pick 163rd overall. In training camp, he’s showed off a big leg.

In two preseason games, the rookie has punted twice for 45 yards and 54 yards. He’s also able to handle kickoff duty, which would relieve kicker Stephon Gostkowski.

Asked about Bailey last week, Bill Belichick said, “Jake’s got a lot to learn. He has talent. He has done a number of different things from punting, to holding, to kicking off. Again, there’s a lot of situational things that fall within those areas of responsibility. We’re working our way through some of those and we’ll see how it goes.”


Comments are not available on this story.