“We’re going to do everything we can to support him,” team captain Matthew Slater said after the Patriots’ 22-17 preseason win over the Tennessee Titans on Saturday. “I think all we can do is take things day by day, as is the case with any of us. And we’ll see how it goes.”
Asked about the reaction Gordon can expect in the locker room, Slater said, “A lot of hugs, I would imagine. And a lot of smiles. It will definitely be good to see him.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who released a brief statement earlier Saturday, said he wouldn’t comment further on Gordon.
Per the conditions of his reinstatement, Gordon can officially join the Patriots on Sunday but won’t be allowed to play in the team’s home preseason game on Thursday against the Carolina Panthers.
“Obviously we’re excited because we’re pulling for him. We love him,” said safety Duron Harmon, who enters his seventh season with the Patriots. “We always want the best for him, more than anything. He’s a part of this team, a brother of ours. We’re looking forward to seeing him on Sunday.”
Harmon and Slater both stressed that their primary concern is Gordon’s well-being, not football.
“We’re more concerned with him as a person,” Slater said. “Football is great and all, but nobody plays football forever. Life goes on well past the game of football, and we want to see him be successful in his individual life, and hopefully we can do our part in supporting him along the way.”