FOXBOROUGH — Josh Gordon loves his new neighbors.
And he’s not just talking about his next-door neighbor in the locker room (although he is pretty fond of Tom Brady) or the room in general (although he has fit in seamlessly since his arrival last month).
No, Gordon was referring to a bigger group of people.
“Foxborough is a real nice town, real nice and quiet and peaceful. Me and my girlfriend are making it home,’’ the newest Patriots receiver said Friday. “My family’s here now. I consider it – the people in this community and around it – family. They treat us nice everywhere we go. It’s been a great experience for us.’’
As for his place in the locker room community, Devin McCourty said it didn’t take long for Gordon “to become one of us,” while the receiver said he’s already developed “a real natural type of relationship” with Brady.
“The cool thing here is, it didn’t take long for him to be one of the guys,’’ said McCourty. “I think from the outside everyone’s looking like, ‘How’s he doing?’ But for us, it’s like, ‘All right, JG’s in. He’s one of us, now.’ It’s no big deal and I think that’s what’s awesome about this place.”
It’s clear Brady already has developed a sense of trust with Gordon, whom he targeted on third down twice in his first game as a Patriot. It may be a small sample size — Gordon has four catches for 82 yards and a touchdown in two games — but it’s clear the chemistry is building on and off the field.
“Most of the day, we wind up talking football,” Gordon said of his locker mate, “whether it be in the locker room here briefly or in most of the meeting rooms or time after practice. We carve out time and we make it happen.’’
Communication has been the key, according to Gordon.
“We make sure if there’s something that might be a concern for him or me, or he wants to know how I like to do something, or I want to know how he wants to do something, I just ask and he’s open about it,’’ said Gordon. “It makes it easy for me to communicate with him and makes it a real natural type of relationship.’’
The 27-year-old Gordon, who has dealt with substance abuse and mental health issues in the past, pointed to the support he’s received from the Patriots’ character coach, Jack Easterby, in helping him find a comfort level in New England.
“Jack’s been huge with helping me move in, get acclimated to the city, to the environment,’’ said Gordon. “He’s been hands-on, very hands-on. [He] kind of just made this whole process that much easier for me. [I’m] really appreciative of him.’’
A lot of receivers — even veterans — have had trouble picking up the Patriots’ ever-evolving playbook. So far, that hasn’t been a problem for Gordon, who spread around the credit for his indoctrination into the offense the same way Brady spreads the ball around the field on Sundays.
“It hasn’t been too tough. I think that’s greatly due in part to the amount of help I receive from my teammates here, definitely Tom, [and] all the receivers help bringing me along on a daily basis,’’ Gordon said. “The coaches, just giving me all these resources I need. And me taking advantage of it, going home and studying it daily. I think even a part of having a certain amount of experience in the league already and seeing many different offenses and stuff, I think the language of it is somewhat familiar.
McCourty said “it hasn’t seemed like” Gordon has needed much of a breaking-in period.
“Once he was out there daily, he was out there. It wasn’t like [receivers coach] Chad [O’Shea] was behind him on every play telling him what to do,’’ said McCourty. “He came out there and he was ready to go — and I think that has a lot to do with him going home and putting in the work. Obviously he’s a smart guy.’’
Watching and facing the 6-foot-3-inch, 225-pound Gordon in practice reminds McCourty of a couple of other teammates he wrangles with on a regular basis.
“It’s similar to the conversation we have when we talk about guarding [Rob Gronkowski] or guarding [Julian Edelman] inside,’’ he said. “You’re playing against one of the top guys in the NFL, so that’s always going to be great work. It’s been the same having him out there and trying to play against him.’’