FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – Doug Gabriel is getting more comfortable with the New England Patriots six weeks after they acquired him from Oakland. He thinks other Raider wide receivers also might fit in.

Randy Moss and Jerry Porter.

The NFL trading deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. Oakland is 0-5 with an NFL-low 50 points. Moss has just 17 catches and has criticized coaches and teammates. Porter demanded a trade at the start of training camp, was inactive the first four games and was suspended by the Raiders on Saturday for four more. Gabriel says Moss is misunderstood and doesn’t deserve the reputation as a selfish player.

“He can be a fit in this offense because he’s a guy who loves to work,” Gabriel said Monday after the Patriots returned from a four-day break in their bye week. “If Randy was here, he’d make every other receiver want to pick up their game.”

Gabriel played three seasons in Oakland, the last two with Moss. This season, the Raiders have been without Porter, their leading receiver last season who has watched games from the sideline.

“He made me step my game up,” Gabriel said of Moss. “He came and gave us a big push – not just a small push, a big push – and made us step up our game.”

The Patriots’ wide receiver group has changed dramatically. Troy Brown is the only holdover from last season. The others are Gabriel, Reche Caldwell, Chad Jackson and Jabar Gaffney, who signed last week after being released by Philadelphia.

Are more changes coming before the deadline?

“I have no idea,” coach Bill Belichick said Monday. “Sometimes you’re working on something for a couple of weeks and it never happens. Other times, you’re not really thinking about something and it comes together in a day or so.”

Oakland coach Art Shell said Monday it “remains to be seen” whether Moss or Porter is traded.

“It takes two parties to make it happen,” he said, “but right now I don’t know of any movement coming about.”

Porter might be more likely to be traded because of his differences with Shell. They butted heads in the offseason about Porter’s offseason workout plans and Porter was suspended without pay Saturday for insubordination. The NFL Players Association appealed the suspension on Monday.

“It was a combination of things, there were a couple of things that happened over the course of the week and there were some things that happened over time,” Shell said.

Would Porter fit in any better with the Patriots?

“I don’t know,” Gabriel said. “That’s up to the organization to make a decision on that. If he comes here, I hope he comes here with a great attitude, ready to work.”

Shell said Porter’s work habits weren’t a problem but hasn’t elaborated on why he was inactive.

“I don’t know what’s going on around there,” Gabriel said. “I hope it works out for him.”

Moss and Porter could give the Patriots a deep threat they lacked since they clashed with their own top receiver, Deion Branch. After a long contract holdout, they finally traded Branch to Seattle after the first game of the season.

Moss has said he’d welcome a trade if Raiders management thought it would help them.

Gabriel developed a friendship with Moss and the two spoke on the phone Saturday.

“We didn’t talk about football. He actually had an argument on the phone with my son,” Gabriel said, smiling about that good-natured chat.

Moss is “very misunderstood,” he said. “You can be around him probably 30 minutes to an hour and you can see the difference. Your cheeks might be hurting because you’re laughing so much.”

So might the Patriots and Moss be a good fit?

“If he’s here, you’ll see,” Gabriel said.


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