FOXBORO — It was supposed to be Phillip Dorsett Week here in New England.
Finally, after two full years, the quiet, unassuming Patriots wide receiver and Tom Brady favorite looked like the bonus baby he was expected to be when the Indianapolis Colts drafted him 29th overall out of the University of Miami in 2015.
Dorsett was targeted four times on Sunday night and caught all four passes. That was nice.
What was bonus-baby material were his two, picture-perfect, elusive touchdown receptions against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It was the first two-touchdown game of his pro career.
Brady was, it appears, right after all.
Other than a few extra interviews and several more reporters in front of locker this week, though, Dorsett’s week in the sun basically never happened.
The Antonio Brown Three-Ring Circus (technically, Brown has no “rings” but you catch my drift) has owned the local and national headlines.
The most productive wide receiver over the last six seasons — averaging 114 receptions, 1,524 yards, 11 TDs — not only decided to rock the Raiders’ world but he rocked the Patriots’ Dynasty.
In other word, Phillip Dorsett Week will have to wait.
“I’m OK with that,” said Dorsett. “That’s not why I play. I don’t care about all that other stuff. We won the game. That’s all the matters.”
This, quietly, might be a huge story in 2019 for the Patriots. Dorsett, who entered the 2015 draft as the second fastest guy (4.33 in 40 yard dash) behind wide receiver J.J. Nelson, is now a backup on the Oakland Raiders.
Technically speaking, the Dorsett talents showed up last January, when he hauled in four Brady passes for 41 yards and a touchdown. In the AFC title win in Kansas City he had only one reception, but it was a big one — 29 yards for a TD.
Fast-forward to 2019, with Dorsett signing a one-year deal for $2.6 million, with only $500,000 guaranteed.
Why come back? Why for so cheap? Why not take the Super Bowl ring and get paid a bit?
“Because I love it here,” he said. “I love the locker room. I love the coaches. We are like family here.”
Patriots All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore joined the Patriots before the 2017 season, just like Dorsett. He has gone head-to-head with Dorsett several hundred times in practice. He sees something different in 2019.
“He’s fast, man, really fast,” said Gilmore. “His route-running has improved. He’s a tough guy to stay with. He’s been making plays like (the Pittsburgh game) in practice. Phillip is going to really help us.”
Dorsett has no problem with the week belonging to the other receiver whose locker stall is right next door to his.
“He’s a hard worker,” said Dorsett. “But we all knew that (before he got here) … His talent is obvious. It’s special. I have no problems here.”
Dorsett said Brown has been in his ear a bit, asking questions about plays, routes and Brady.
“We’ve talked a lot,” said Dorsett. “I’m excited to have him here. I’m excited to learn from him. For sure, I’ll be asking him things, too.”
Bill Burt is executive sports editor of the Eagle-Tribune. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @burttalkssports.
Dorsett coming home
What happens after having the best game of your pro career?
The media asks questions and realizes you are literally playing about 15 miles from where you grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. when Patriots play the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Dorsett also attended the University of Miami, which is 21 miles away to the south in Coral Gables, Fl.
“It’s cool that my family is so close,” said Dorsett. “I’ll have a lot of family and friends there. I always enjoy that part of playing them.”