FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The way things have been going lately, arrows may soon fill the New England sky.

Wide receiver Brandin Cooks has gotten off to a blistering start in Patriots training camp, and that momentum has carried over from a fine offseason workout program. He led the team with 11 catches on Tom Brady passes through the first four practices of training camp, a continuation from the five open spring practices when he was second on the team with 14 connections with Brady.

To that effect, Cooks’ unique touchdown celebration might become a fixture during Patriots games, and there’s a lot more to his homage than meets the eye. Cooks said he has marked each of his 21 NFL touchdowns by pretending to pull an arrow off his back and firing it into the air.

“It comes from Psalm 144:6: ‘Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy; shoot your arrows and rout them,’” Cooks said. “It’s just one of those things that my faith is the biggest part of my life and I feel like the reason why I am where I am today with the gifts that I have.

“So it’s just another way to be able to glorify God rather than just pointing to the sky (after a touchdown). Just bringing a unique way, so my hope is when fans see me, they see God in me. That’s the biggest part of it all.”

Cooks often unleashes the bow-and-arrow celebration during practice, too. Without understanding its true meaning, observers might view it as a negative, look-at-me routine, but that clearly isn’t the case.

Cooks, who turns 24 in September, found his faith in high school and credited his best friend’s family for introducing him to religion. As a single mom, Cooks’ mother worked at a warehouse among her jobs to raise her sons, so he understood that she didn’t have enough time to introduce him to God.

With tutelage from his friend’s family and eventually the Oregon State team chaplain, Cooks believed his life had taken on a greater meaning.

“I wasn’t saved until I was in high school or going into college,” Cooks said. “Growing up, it wasn’t that we didn’t believe in God. It was that my mom was so busy that she wasn’t able to teach me that component. So I had to learn it from my best friend’s parents. Then my chaplain in college was a huge part of my transition with that as well.”

As the Saints’ first-round pick in 2014, Cooks was obviously destined to find the end zone quite a bit, so he wanted to come up with a celebration that suited his faith. His Saints teammates, like tight end Ben Watson and quarterback Luke McCown, understood the meaning, but Cooks had to explain it to most others.

He also wanted the fans to understand it wasn’t a malicious celebration, and Cooks couldn’t understand why the league considered cracking down on his touchdown orchestration. (The NFL has relaxed its celebration rules this offseason.)

“The first thing that comes to your mind is something else,” Cooks acknowledged with the bow-and-arrow shot. “It’s unfortunate. The biggest is probably the league not understanding it. There’s no violence in it for me at all. I’m not shooting it at anyone. I’m not pointing it toward anyone.

“If anything, I’m shooting it at God. It’s my way of thanking him and bringing a little twist to it.”

Cooks’ integration into the Patriots passing game has appeared to be seamless. The Patriots sacrificed a first- and a third-round pick for Cooks’ services, and they exercised his $8.459 million option for the 2018 season.

So the Patriots have coughed up quite a bit for the receiver with blistering speed who should dramatically open up their offense. Coach Bill Belichick’s vision for Cooks has become clearer, as offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has concocted ways to send Cooks deep to attack safeties and drag across the middle to expose slower defenders.

Cooks beat Duron Harmon and Nate Ebner so decisively Saturday that Jimmy Garoppolo’s underthrown deep bid caused Cooks to nearly stop in the end zone, and the safeties still couldn’t prevent the touchdown.

Brady clearly trusts him already, and Cooks is a daily staple of the two-minute offense.

Cooks’ consistent production – rather than a six-catch practice followed by a doughnut – is important to become ingratiated with Brady.

So it’s time to get used to Cooks’ archery lessons – his favorite way to mix church and state.

“It comes together,” Cooks said. “Yes it does.”

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