At last, Josh Gordon is officially a Patriot. For the past two-and-a-half days, head coach Bill Belichick refused to discuss the acquisition of Gordon in a trade with the Browns, telling reporters that the deal hadn't been finalized, even though it had been announced by both teams and the league office in New York.
"We're still working through some transactions on the team, so, we'll have those for you when we start practice. We should have them by then," Belichick promised.
Sure enough, a little over an hour later, Gordon suited up in full pads, wearing jersey number 10, for today's practice.
NFL Network reported shortly after Belichick's meeting with the media that the sticking point involved compensation between the Browns and Patriots.
Gordon (limited in practice with a hamstring issue) was not made available to the media on Wednesday. After practice, however, many of Gordon's new teammates shared their initial thoughts on seeing the 27-year-old former All-Pro in Patriots colors.
"I'm just excited that he's here," declared defensive back Jason McCourty, a teammate of Gordon's in Cleveland last season. "Really good football player and I'm excited to see what he can do."
Linebacker Dont'a Hightower recalled facing Gordon, then a member of the Cleveland Browns, in 2013, when Gordon caught seven passes for 151 yards – including an 80-yard TD – and carried the ball once for a 34-yard gain.
"He was a monster then and he's still a monster now," Hightower smiled. "Tremendous athlete, great receiver. Glad to have him."
"He's a good player. Happy to have him on the team," echoed cornerback Stephon Gilmore. "We'll see how it goes. Anytime a new guy comes in, we expect him to do whatever it takes to help the team out."
In order to help the Patriots, potentially as soon as this weekend, Gordon must absorb a great deal of information in a short amount of time while trying to adjust to life in a new, unfamiliar place.
"It's always exciting to get a new teammate," remarked center/co-captain David Andrews. "Josh should just come in and work. Everyone has their own role and should do their jobs."
"We're teammates. We're here to help," added Hightower. "Whatever questions he has, we're here to help with that."
Cornerback/return specialist Cyrus Jones is back with the club that drafted him, after a short stint on the Ravens' practice squad. ESPN reported that New England gave Jones a two-year deal to come back to Foxborough after Jones was released by the Patriots at the end of the preseason.
At practice Wednesday, Jones was back in jersey number 41, which he wore previously with New England. That number had been assigned most recently to running back Kenjon Barner, signed just last week, but Barner was not on the field today, presumably because he'd been let go to make room for Jones on the 53-man roster.
Only two players didn't appear at practice Wednesday. Both of them – safety/co-captain Patrick Chung and defensive end Trey Flowers – could not finish the Jaguar game after sustaining concussions Sunday evening in Jacksonville.
On a positive note, right tackle Marcus Cannon (left calf), who was held out of that contest altogether, returned to take part in practice today on a limited basis.