Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports

Ninkovich on D&K: Josh Gordon not worth risk

John Tomase
September 17, 2018 - 3:25 pm

Count former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich among those who want no part of Josh Gordon.

Appearing in studio with Dale & Keefe on Monday following Sunday's 31-20 loss to the Jaguars, Ninkovich sparred with co-host Rich Keefe over whether the Patriots should make a bid for the mercurial wideout, whom the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is reporting could be headed to New England.

"I wouldn't, personally," Ninkovich said. "I think there's a certain amount of pressure and stress that come with playing with the Patriots, and expectations. He's in a place, really, where if they win one game, it's a celebration. There's no playoff hopes. There's no win your division. There's no failure if you don't win your division. The Patriots here, it's definitely a stressful environment. It's not easy to play here.

"The second he signs here, what is everyone saying? I think it just sends the wrong message."

Gordon has had multiple run-ins with the league's substance abuse policy, including a year-long suspension. He missed Sunday's loss in New Orleans after showing up on Saturday with a hamstring injury that was reportedly incurred during a promotional shoot. The Browns decided that was the last straw and announced he'd be released by 4 p.m. on Monday, though teams are reportedly trying to acquire him via trade first.

"I don't think he would be a great fit," Ninkovich said. "There's guys that fit and guys that don't. There's a certain personality that has to be considered when you're playing for the Patriots. I question his love for the game if you've been suspended so many times or you hurt your hamstring doing a video for some kind of endorsement, when you've practiced all week. Isn't that letting down your teammates?"

Keefe pushed back that the Patriots have signed a number of players with questionable backgrounds, from Michael Floyd to Kenny Britt to Albert Haynesworth to Corey Dillon. Ninkovich described Gordon's sheer volume of transgressions as in a different league.

He also noted the difficulty of integrating into the Patriots offense under exacting quarterback Tom Brady in the middle of the season.

"First of all, receiver isn't a plug-and-play position," he said. "It's not like, OK, here's the phone book of Tom's plays and you're ready to go on Sunday. It's going to take somebody at least a month to really understand the offense. So if you bring a guy in, you've got to take another guy off the roster. At what point does your talent hide everything else?