FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick spoke to the media Friday for the first time since the New England Patriots made the surprising decision to place wide receiver Josh Gordon on injured reserve Wednesday.
The timeline of those events Wednesday was strange. The Patriots announced Wednesday morning they were cutting tight end Eric Tomlinson. Gordon, who was dealing with knee and ankle injuries, was present at practice Wednesday while Tomlinson was not. Hours later, the Patriots placed Gordon on injured reserve. On Thursday morning, the Patriots tweeted Tomlinson was actually never cut as the move never hit the NFL’s official transaction wire.
The Patriots head coach was asked Friday what went down Wednesday.
“There were a number of things going on,” Belichick said. “In the end, we made the transaction that we felt was best for the team.”
Belichick said the Patriots “were just following the rules” by placing Gordon on injured reserve. A report surfaced Wednesday that the Patriots intend to cut Gordon once his knee and ankle are healed.
“That’s a conversation for later,” Belichick said. “He’s not healthy right now, so.”
The Patriots have 2019 first-round pick wide receiver N’Keal Harry eligible to return from injured reserve next week. The Patriots already have Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Mohamed Sanu, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, Matthew Slater and practice squad wideout Devin Ross on their team. So, was Harry’s return a factor in removing Gordon from the roster?
“We’re not going to carry 10 receivers on the team,” Belichick said. “So, something’s going to have to happen. I don’t know what. I can’t imagine we’d carry that many players at one position. At some point, numbers have to become a factor when they get high. It’s the National Football League. This isn’t college.”
Earlier this season, the Patriots traded wide receiver Demaryius Thomas after signing Antonio Brown when they were about to have eight wide receivers on their 53-man roster. The Patriots will have seven receivers on their roster once Harry returns. That seems to be the limit.