'He was a great team-mate' - Patriots react to Gordon suspension
Players from the New England Patriots reacted to news of Josh Gordon's suspension and absence from the NFL.
On Thursday, wide receiver Gordon – who arrived from the Cleveland Browns in September – announced he was stepping away from football in order to focus on his mental health.
A short time later, the NFL announced Gordon was suspended indefinitely for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
"I felt bad for him," Patriots safety and co-captain Devin McCourty said, via New England Sports Network. "The way you guys felt when you read it was how most of us probably felt.
"He was a great team-mate. He worked his butt off while he was here. So I think for us as players, we wish him the best personally. … I think, as people, you feel for that. I mean, if you don't, I guess you don't, but I think as guys in this locker room, we care more about him and him getting well and all of those things more than him catching passes."
Co-captains Matthew Slater (receiver) and David Andrews (center) also shared concern for Gordon, who has been open about his struggle with addiction and stated he has been nothing but a great team-mate in his time with the Patriots.
"I think first and foremost, your prayers are with Josh, and your concern is with him and what he's dealing with, whatever that may be," Slater said.
"I think we have a tendency to become so infatuated with what's going happening on the football field as players, as media members, that we lose sight of what's going on with the man sometimes, and our number one concern is with him as a man."
Andrews added: "I wish all the best for Josh. He was a great team-mate. But I'm not really going to comment. It's his situation. I'll let him speak for himself on that."
Patriots Cornerback Stephon Gilmore also shared his admiration and support for Gordon – a Pro-Bowl selection in 2013.
"He was a great team-mate, a great guy," Gilmore said. "So I think you just try to pray about it and just hope for the best for him."