The New England Patriots hope for the best but perhaps are expecting the worst regarding Josh Gordon’s availability.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport said Friday during his appearance on WEEI’s “Dale & Keefe” Show he believes the Patriots “would certainly welcome” the wide receiver if the NFL reinstates him from suspension, but the 28-year-old would have to demonstrate his personal growth. Rapoport also insisted the Patriots isn’t planning on Gordon being part of their team this season.

“Josh Gordon, I don’t know,” Rapoport said, as transcribed by NBC Sports Boston. “I know that for the Patriots, it’s not something that they’re talking about every day. It’s not a guy who’s in their plans right now.

“I think that they would certainly welcome him back if he showed that he’s going to be a better version — as a person, I’m talking about — a better version of the one they got last year. I just don’t know that he’s actually going to get reinstated, prove to the Patriots that he has turned the corner, that he’s a different person, show that he’s in the right frame of mind.

“As always with Josh Gordon, the talent is incredible. We’ve seen probably one-tenth of it, honestly. But there’s always so much that goes into it. I think the Patriots know better than to say this is a guy we’re counting on for next season.”

The Cleveland Browns traded Gordon to New England in September, and he caught 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games for the Patriots last season. However, his campaign ended abruptly in December when the NFL suspended him for violating the terms of his previous reinstatement.

Although the NFL hasn’t issued an update on the 28-year-old’s eligibility, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman undoubtedly isn’t the only one of Gordon’s colleagues who hope he’ll rejoin the team in 2019. The Patriots placed a second-round tender on Gordon, paving the way for his return if the NFL allows him to do so.

He was present for the Super Bowl LIII ring ceremony June 6 at team owner Robert Kraft’s house and was seen catching passes from Tom Brady days later in the quarterback’s Instagram post.

But with training camp starting next week, the Patriots will begin their preparations for a Super Bowl title defense with or without Gordon.

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