FOXBOROUGH — Phillip Dorsett was asleep Saturday night when the news broke that his former teammate, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, was retiring.
When Dorsett woke up, he thought he was still dreaming.
“I saw it [and] I was shocked, I thought it was a joke and then it came on the ticker and I was like, ‘Oh, it’s serious?’ Honestly, I was speechless,’’ the Patriots receiver said Sunday afternoon after practice.
Dorsett was drafted by the Colts in first round in 2015 and played two seasons with Luck as his quarterback.
“He was the first person to text me. As soon as I got drafted, he texted just saying he can’t wait to get me in, get going, I still remember that to this day,’’ said Dorsett. “We always worked extra trying to get that camaraderie.’’
Coincidentally, Dorsett was acquired from Indianapolis for Jacoby Brissett, who now supplants Luck as the Colts quarterback.
Dorsett, who said he would wait to reach out to Luck because “I know his phone is blowing up,’’ remembered Luck as an “amazing teammate.’’
He acknowledged having mixed feelings about news.
“I happy for him, just to get some relief, but sad that he’s walking away because he’s such a great player and he loves football,’’ said Dorsett. “Nothing but respect for Andrew. I love him.’’
Dorsett also said he understands the decision made by Luck, who said he was worn down by the injury/rehab cycle he’s been going through for much of the last four seasons.
“I can’t sit here and say I know what he was going through because nobody does. I know it’s tough on him. I know he didn’t want to walk away. He has to do [what’s best] for himself,’’ he said. “It’s a tough business. It wears your body down physically and your mind down mentally. But at the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you and I think that’s what he did.’’
The smattering of boos that Luck heard on his way out of Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night didn’t sit well with Dorsett.
“[That] was disappointing for me, even sad,’’ he said. “I knew, knowing him, I knew he was going to get emotional. I know it hurt him and it was tough . . . I knew it probably brought him to tears, for sure.’’
Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore remembered Luck as a big, tough quarterback with underrated athleticism.
“He could do everything,’’ Gilmore said. “Run, throw, everything. He could throw the ball anywhere and he could do everything at a high level. . . . If you dropped everyone back [in coverage], he’d just take off and beat you that way. He was very athletic.’’
Harris, Davis released
Receiver Maurice Harris, who suffered an unspecified injury during the joint practices with the Titans in Nashville, and defensive end Keionta Davis were released with injury designations.
Harris really shined during spring minicamp and at the beginning of training camp, but he started to trail off and had a couple of drops in the Lions game, which turned out to be his final one with the Patriots.
Even before his injury, Harris faced a tough battle for a roster spot with Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, and Demaryius Thomas returning. He was also behind Dorsett and rookies N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers.
Davis signed as undrafted free agent in 2017 and spent that season the NFI. Davis, who has an undisclosed injury, was a real standout last summer and made the original 53-man roster. He played in six games with three starts in 2018 but was caught in a numbers crunch at the position, where Michael Bennett, John Simon, Chase Winovich, and Deatrich Wise all are ahead of him on the depth chart.
If Harris and Davis go unclaimed, they will revert to New England’s injured reserve list.
Patrick Chung returned to practice for the first time since news broke last week that the safety was indicted on a felony charge of cocaine possession in New Hampshire. He wasn’t at practice last Tuesday and was not spotted at Gillette on Thursday when the Patriots beat the Panthers in their third preseason game.
Chung, who had spent the entire summer in a red noncontact jersey, was in a regular blue jersey Sunday, indicating he’s been fully cleared medically. Chung broke his right arm in the Super Bowl LII victory over the Rams and also had offseason surgery to repair a lingering shoulder problem.
LB, RB added
The Patriots signed linebacker Scooby Wright and running back Robert Martin.
Wright was a 2016 seventh-round pick of the Browns and has spent time on their practice squad as well as the Cardinals practice squad. The former Arizona standout was most recently with the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football league.
Martin is a Rutgers product who spent last season on the Giants practice squad. He was released in May.
King put on IR
As expected, special teams ace Brandon King was placed on injured reserve after suffering a torn quadriceps in the win over the Panthers on Thursday . . . A good bunch of Patriots missed Sunday’s workout, including tight end Ben Watson (concussion protocol), running back Damien Harris, and tight end Lance Kendricks, all of whom were injured against Carolina. Additionally, center David Andrews and defensive ends Derek Rivers, Shilique Calhoun, and Trent Harris were not spotted . . . Matthew Slater missed Thursday’s game because of the birth of his third child, a second son . . . ESPN personality Chris Berman chatted with Bill Belichick as players did their stretching.