WR Josh Gordon starts for Patriots despite report of discipline for tardiness

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon started Monday night's 25-6 win over the Buffalo Bills despite a report that he would be kept off the field for about a quarter because of tardiness.

Any discipline for Gordon would be a decision made by head coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots, through a team spokesman, were not commenting on the NFL Network report in the hours leading up to kickoff. The report said Gordon was expected to be kept off the field for "several series" before he would receive his regular playing time.

Belichick also declined to address the report when asked about it after the game.

"You'd have to talk to whoever wrote that," he said. "I have no idea."

Gordon, for his part, referred postgame questions about his tardiness back to Belichick.

"That's going to be a question you're going to have to ask Coach about," Gordon said. "In relation to the game, I was available, so that's a plus."

Gordon, who was elevated to a starting role with the Patriots over the past two games, is coming off a 100-yard effort in a win over the Chicago Bears on Oct. 21. He arrived at New Era Field for Monday night's game on the team's first bus, alongside quarterback Tom Brady and others.

Gordon's history of reliability questions and substance-abuse struggles is well-documented. He served multiple NFL suspensions in his time with the Cleveland Browns.

Since the Patriots acquired him in a trade Sept. 17, Gordon has credited the team's "breeding ground of excellence" for helping him thrive, and he noted the help of the team's character coach, Jack Easterby. In the hours leading up to kickoff Monday, Easterby spent time in the tunnel speaking with wide receivers coach Chad O'Shea.

The Patriots entered Monday's game with Gordon, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson at receiver.