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Pats WR Gordon: 'Extremely filled with gratitude'

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots receiver Josh Gordon says he is now in a better place after serving an eight-month suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

In his first public remarks since being suspended in December and then reinstated in August, Gordon struck an effusively upbeat tone Sunday night.

"I'm doing very well. I'm extremely filled with gratitude every day, just enjoying myself," he said after the Patriots' 33-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium. "Coming inside this building, being with this family-oriented type of environment, and just doing what I love to do; there's nothing better than this, honestly. It's great."

Gordon started Sunday night and finished with three catches for 73 yards and one touchdown. A 20-yard catch-and-run score -- in which Gordon caught a short pass at the 20-yard line and then picked up speed before running through a tackle attempt by cornerback Joe Haden -- gave the Patriots a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

"Josh is a great player. It's great to have him out there," quarterback Tom Brady said. "He's a dynamic player and every game that we play together, there's more trust that's built, and I'll keep finding a way to get him the ball."

Sunday night was Gordon's first regular-season game since facing the Steelers on Dec. 16, 2018. He was suspended by the NFL four days later.

Gordon said his "No. 1 objective" upon his return to the field was to "have as much fun as possible." His approach was to "go as hard and put as much of myself out there as I possibly could."

He credited work with New England strength coach Moses Cabrera, calling him a "good resource" since his return to the Patriots on Aug. 18.

"Coming back, getting into shape, making sure I'm on top of things and giving my best effort," the 28-year-old Gordon said. "We talk about it every day, what we want to put out there at practice. It feels good to know that we put together somewhat of a finished product this first week and were able to maintain. Now we want to be able to build upon it."

On Friday, Gordon had released a statement in which he said he did not take time to focus on a solution to his substance-abuse struggles until this past year, while thanking the NFL, NFL Players Association and Patriots for their support.

"I hope people will judge me on what I do now and in the future," he said.