Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett leans on God as he battles in crowded receiver group

The New England Patriots are often in the news, and Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season was no different. They’re the defending Super Bowl champions, they’re favored to win another ring, and they hosted the season’s first Sunday Night Football game. On top of all that, they made big waves on Saturday by signing Antonio Brown, the superstar wide receiver who was released that morning by the Raiders.

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The move immediately makes Brown quarterback Tom Brady’s top target, and adds depth to one of the strongest groups of receivers Brady has ever had — Brown (seven Pro Bowls), Julian Edleman (Super Bowl MVP), Josh Gordon (one Pro Bowl with Cleveland) and Demaryius Thomas (four Pro Bowls with Denver).

But the receiver who shined Sunday night was none of the aforementioned. It was Phillip Dorsett, whose career numbers (99 catches, 1,332 yards, eight touchdowns) read like just one season for Brown.

Drafted in the first round out of Miami (Fla.) by the Colts in 2015, Dorsett is in his third season with New England, for which he’s never started more than two games in a season. And he wasn’t a starter Sunday, but his career-best game led the Patriots in yards (95) and touchdowns (two), as New England crushed Pittsburgh, 33-3.

As Brown joins the team this week, it’s likely to put a dent in Dorsett’s playing time the rest of the season. When asked about that, Dorsett said he’s just focused on making the team better.

“At the end of the day, this is a team,” Dorsett said via WEEI. “We know he’s coming in. We have great camaraderie in the room, and we look forward to adding him to it. We know what he is. We know he’s a hard worker. And we know what we’re going to get. So, we just have to get him up to speed, and I feel like it could be great for us.”

In challenging situations, Dorsett says he looks to God.

“Just knowing that God’s there, God will always be with you, it’s something that helps me through every tough situation,” Dorsett told Sports Spectrum before last season’s Super Bowl. “If things become tough, just know that at the end of the day, He’s there to help me and I just lean on Him.”

Dorsett said the Church was a big part of his upbringing in Florida, but he strayed a bit once he got to college and out from his parents’ supervision. By the time he was a senior, though, he had gotten back on track.

“I grew up in the Church and it’s just how I go about my day,” he says. “My faith is the most important thing in my life, obviously. I go by faith, family, football. It’s just how I’ve always lived my life.”

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