Rob Ninkovich on Josh Gordon trade: ‘I think it just sends the wrong message’

Former New England Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich said he wouldn’t take a chance on wide receiver Josh Gordon, the newest addition to New England’s roster.

“I wouldn’t, personally,” Ninkovich said on WEEI’s “Dale & Keefe” following the report that the Patriots were close to reaching a deal for Gordon Monday afternoon.

Citing Gordon’s long history with substance abuse and multiple suspensions by the league, Ninkovich said the team’s latest acquisition “sends the wrong message.” Ninkovich said, despite Gordon’s stellar 2013 season in which he earned first-team All-Pro honors as the league’s leading receiver, he doesn’t think the 27-year-old would be “a great fit” in New England.

“There’s guys that fit and guys that don’t,” Ninkovich told WEEI. “There’s a certain personality that has to be considered when you play for the Patriots. I question his love for the game if you’ve been suspended so many times or you hurt your hamstring doing a video for some type of endorsement when you’ve practiced all week. Isn’t that letting down your teammates?”

“First of all, receiver isn’t a plug-and-play position,” Ninkovich said. “It’s not like, ‘OK, here’s the phone book of Tom’s plays and you’re ready to go on Sunday.’ It’s going to take somebody at least a month to like really understand the offense. So you bring a guy in, you’ve got to take another guy off the roster. At what point does your talent hide everything else?”

“Why would the Browns let go of one of their best players when they haven’t won a game in a year and two weeks or whatever?” he said. “It tells me he’s not dependable. You can’t depend on that guy.”