Josh Gordon returns to field for Patriots, gets involved early

Most key players didn’t see the field on Thursday night in the fourth preseason game, but Josh Gordon’s situation with the New England Patriots is different.

Gordon hadn’t played since late last season when he was suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He was reinstated earlier this month but not allowed to play in the third preseason game.

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That made the fourth game his tuneup. Playing with a lot of guys who won’t make the roster, Gordon got involved early in his first NFL action since last December.

Josh Gordon gets an early catch

Gordon was targeted four times on the Patriots’ opening drive. His 19-yard catch from Jarrett Stidham was a nice sign that Gordon was in fact back and ready to roll. Gordon added an 11-yard catch later.

Once Gordon is back to full speed, he’ll be the Patriots’ top receiver on the outside. He was playing well for New England last season before his suspension.

Julian Edelman, who missed most of camp with a broken thumb, played too and he had a 20-yard catch. Edelman came out of the game after landing on the same hand in which he broke his thumb, though he seemed to be fine on the sideline.

Patriots looking better at receiver

The Patriots came into the preseason with a lot of questions at receiver. It looks a lot better now.

Edelman got healthy. Gordon was reinstated. Veteran Demaryius Thomas, coming off a torn Achilles, caught a long touchdown on Thursday night. Rookie Jakobi Meyers was a surprise. Suddenly, a big question has turned into relative calm.

Gordon hasn’t been able to stay on the field through his career due to suspensions. But he’s back now, and the Patriots are better off for it.

Josh Gordon played in the Patriots' final preseason game. (Getty Images)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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