Asked Friday why the team chose to release the oft-suspended receiver just a week after placing him on injured reserve with knee and ankle injuries, Belichick offered little insight.
“We released him because he was healthy,” Belichick said. “He passed his physical.”
Pressed for his thoughts on Gordon’s overall time in New England, Belichick said the team had moved forward.
“We’re looking to Baltimore at this point,” he said. “A lot of guys have been here in the past year and a half.”
Gordon sustained his recent injuries during New England’s win over the New York Giants in Week 6 and sat out the Week 7 win over the Jets.
Gordon was reinstated by the NFL in August after having been suspended indefinitely in December 2018, missing the final three games of last season for violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. It ended what had been strong year for the Gordon, who had 40 catches for 720 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games.
A 2012 second-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns, Gordon was also suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season for a substance abuse policy violation but still caught 87 passes for nine touchdowns and a league-leading 1,646 yards and was named to the All-Pro team.
Upon returning from his latest suspension he seemed to settle into the Patriots’ strict culture and was among New England’s leading receivers this season. In six games, he had 20 catches for 287 yards and a touchdown.
But Gordon’s place on the roster may have became less secure after the Patriots traded for eight-year veteran Mohamed Sanu on Oct. 22 and rookie N’Keal Harry now eligible to return to the active roster after his own stint on injured reserve with an ankle injury.
Sanu is primarily used as a slot receiver, but Harry and receiver Phillip Dorsett ? like Gordon ? are known for their ability to catch deep passes.
Before this season, the Patriots were unsure if Gordon would be available. With Harry inching toward a return and Dorsett having a strong season (21 catches, 286 yards, four TDs) the presence of all three players would have created some roster redundancy.
The Patriots (8-0) visit the AFC North-leading Ravens (5-2) on Sunday.