New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said his team must move on from the suspension of Josh Gordon, terming the trouble wide receiver's latest issue an "unfortunate situation."
The NFL announced on Thursday that Gordon was suspended indefinitely for violating terms of his reinstatement under the substance abuse policy. The move came shortly after Gordon tweeted he was stepping aside from playing to focus on his mental well-being.
"I spoke with Josh yesterday morning, as I have several times since he's been here," Belichick said Friday at his weekly media briefing. "It's obviously an unfortunate situation, and personally, I wish him the very best, as we all do on this team. He's made a statement, the organization's made a statement, the league's made a statement. I've spoken on him at length over the last three months, and so I don't really have anything at this point to add to that. It's a private matter, and I hope that he's able to deal with it successfully.
"So, otherwise, we're moved on to Buffalo and big challenge ahead of us on Sunday. Today will be a big day for us, and we need to make the most of it and be ready to go."
The suspension was the fifth of Gordon's career and the fourth related to substance abuse. He missed two full seasons while with the Cleveland Browns before returning to play the final five games in 2017.
Acquired earlier this season from Cleveland for a fifth-round draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Gordon had 40 receptions for 720 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games with New England.
Asked how difficult it was to prepare to play three days after losing an integral player, Belichick responded: "Yeah, well, it is what it is."
The Patriots (9-5) are coming off back-to-back losses, marking the first time they have dropped consecutive games in December since 2002. New England can clinch a record 10th consecutive AFC East title with a win on Sunday and Belichick knows his must put the absence of Gordon behind them.
"Yeah, I mean, it's a big game. We know Buffalo's tough, we know they're going to compete and what we need to do to be competitive against them," the coach said. "So, we practiced with that in mind yesterday. We'll do it again today, Saturday and be ready to go on Sunday."
Belichick declined to address questions of whether he felt the team could have done more to support Gordon or whether the organization will continue to work with him or sever ties. He also did not say whether the team is considering adding another wide receiver to take Gordon's roster spot.
"We're going to try to put together the best game plan and be as competitive as we can against Buffalo on Sunday," said Belichick. "That's what we're looking over right now."
Belichick did offer praise for both wideouts Cordarrelle Patterson and Phillip Dorsett, who has seen his playing time dwindle with the emergence of Gordon.
"Phil's tremendous. He's a tremendous kid, great teammate. I think he has everybody's total respect in the locker room on everything -- his preparation, the way he treats other people, how unselfish he is, how he's always ready for his role," said Belichick. "You saw that in the Super Bowl last year. So, I don't think you could ask for any more than what he gives the team."
On Thursday, Gordon thanked his teammates, Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft in a post on his Twitter account. Shortly after Gordon's announcement, the Patriots released a statement to express their support.
Gordon missed the beginning of Cleveland's training camp to get counseling for anxiety and mental health issues. He rejoined the team in three weeks and played one game before getting traded to the Patriots.