FOXBORO, Mass. — Phillip Dorsett was happy the New England Patriots stood pat at Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.
Dorsett’s name appeared in trade rumors during the final hours before the deadline, including one report by NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport that suggested the Houston Texans could be looking to acquire the 25-year-old wide receiver.
This year’s deadline wound up being an uncharacteristically quiet one in New England, however, as the Patriots chose not to complete a trade involving Dorsett or any other player.
Asked Thursday about that period of uncertainty, Dorsett initially played coy.
“I didn’t see anything,” he replied.
After a brief pause, though, he smiled and added: “No, I’m just playing.”
Dorsett tried not to pay attention to the pre-deadline chatter, he said. He’d already been traded once before in his career — from the Indianapolis Colts to the Patriots at the start of last season — so he knows how the rumor mill works.
“I can’t really explain the feeling,” he said. “Obviously, I’ve been traded before. You see things, you see rumors, but you can’t believe them, because I don’t think anybody really knows what’s going on. There’s rumors out there every day. Things come up, but it is what it is. You’ve just got to keep playing.
“The one thing I can say is I’m just glad I’m still here.”
That Dorsett was mentioned as potential trade bait was not surprising. After playing a significant role in the Patriots’ offense early this season, he’s hardly seen the field in recent weeks following the return of Julian Edelman and the arrival and subsequent emergence of Josh Gordon.
Dorsett has played just 16 total snaps over the Patriots last three games after playing no fewer than 42 in each of their first five contests. Since that drastic drop in playing time, he’s been targeted just once, catching one pass for 8 yards in a Week 7 win over the Chicago Bears.
Still, Dorsett insisted he’s not frustrated with his current situation. He said being shoved to the bottom of the depth chart behind Edelman, Gordon, Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson has been a motivating experience, not a disheartening one.
“Not at all,” he said. “I’m always a guy that’s going to stay ready no matter what. I love going out there, going to practice and working extra hard, catching extra balls, being in the weight room, doing extra work. It gives me time to get ready and be prepared for whatever happens. I’m always in the playbook. I know all the positions. So I’m ready.”
Dorsett has appeared in all eight games for the Patriots this season, catching 20 passes on 30 targets for 198 yards and two touchdowns.