EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It would’ve been easy for Demario Douglas to get down on himself over the last week, but his Patriots teammates wouldn’t let him.

The rookie receiver was benched last Sunday after fumbling early in New England’s Week 2 home loss to the Miami Dolphins. Bill Belichick’s decision generated significant debate in the days that followed, with even Devin McCourty criticizing his former head coach. We also took issue with Belichick benching Douglas, who might be the most talented pass-catcher on the Patriots offense.

Ahead of Sunday’s road game against the New York Jets, Douglas’ teammates showed support both publicly and privately. And for that, the sixth-round rookie is grateful.

“All the vets coming up to me throughout the week — that motivated me,” Douglas told NESN.com after Sunday’s 15-10 win over the Jets. “Just to see that they trust me. That trust runs a long way. Just the support, a young kid coming in… that support is everything. Just to see that support from the team, it motivated me, you know? To play for that name on the front and the name for everybody that’s on their backs.”

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Douglas said he also got a lot of encouragement from his quarterback.

“Mac Jones texted me like, ‘Hey, keep your head up, play the next play,'” Douglas said. “I always have that next-play mentality. But hearing it from your quarterback, hearing it from your vets, you know you gotta come out here and do what you need to do.”

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Douglas didn’t set the world on fire in his first game since the benching, catching just one ball on three targets for 15 yards while adding one carry for 5 yards. But he saw a decent amount of playing time and was on the field in big situations.

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He also should’ve drawn a big defensive pass interference penalty late in the first half — but that’s another story.

Now out of Belichick’s doghouse, Douglas will look to deliver bigger numbers next Sunday when the 1-2 Patriots visit the 2-1 Dallas Cowboys.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images