FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Julian Edelman said Thursday that fellow New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon has made a strong first impression, and he believes bigger things are ahead for Gordon.
"Dude works hard. Great teammate. I really think he can be a really big piece of us," Edelman said after the team's walkthrough practice in preparation for Sunday night's home game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
"It's exciting to be around him. He loves football, you can tell. He knows his stuff. It's getting more and more fun the more he knows."
Gordon caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in last week's win over the Indianapolis Colts, but he has only played on a part-time basis over two games (18 snaps apiece), in part because he's still limited by a hamstring injury.
Brady previously said his touchdown throw to Gordon, a deep ball into double coverage in the end zone, was reflective of the trust he has built with Gordon in a short period of time. The Patriots acquired Gordon -- who has four catches for 82 yards -- from the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 17 for a fifth-round draft choice.
The inclusion of Gordon in the attack, along with Edelman's return last week from a four-game NFL suspension to open the season, has added a spark to the Patriots' passing game. Edelman had seven catches for 57 yards in his return against the Colts.
"It's getting better each day," Edelman said of his transition back to football, adding that returning to practice has allowed him to build his confidence in competitive situations. "I feel like my conditioning is pretty good. You're always working to get it better."
Of Sunday night's game against the Chiefs, he said, "We're playing an undefeated team that looks unbelievable. We've got a battle. If you love football, this is why you play -- games like this. Two tough teams. That's what I'm looking forward to."
Having missed all of the 2017 season with a torn ACL, and then sitting out due to suspension, Edelman's appreciation for the game has grown that much greater.
"You definitely appreciate it once you've been away, and I was away for a year and some change," he said. "It's good to be out with the fellas. Meetings can get on you a little bit here and there, but you realize you need it. It's good to be back."