The NFL has reinstated receiver Josh Gordon on a conditional basis. The former Cleveland Brown star will rejoin the New England Patriots on Sunday and is eligible to play in the 2019 NFL season.
Gordon was a breakout star for the Browns, becoming the first receiver with back-to-back 200 yard receiving games. He accomplished that feat in 2013, the same season he served his first suspension in the NFL: a suspension that lasted two games early in the year.
Gordon was then suspended for the entire 2014 season after once again violated the league’s substance abuse policy. Later in the same season, the NFL reinstated Gordon. Within two months, the Browns suspended Gordon for a violation of team rules. After a month of that violation, the NFL suspended Gordon for the 2015 NFL season for yet another violation of the substance abuse policy.
During the summer of 2016, a full 18 months after his last suspension, Gordon is reinstated by the NFL after his first application. He was allowed to participate in training camp but was suspended the first four games of the Browns regular season. Within months, Gordon took a leave of absence from the Browns organization to enter a drug rehabilitation facility in New Hampshire. Gordon was then reinstated in November of 2017, finishing the regular season in a promising fashion. After missing the first three weeks of Browns training camp in 2018, Gordon was traded to the Patriots for a fifth-round pick.
The pairing of legendary quarterback Tom Brady with the talented Gordon was beyond promising. Brady was entering a new stage of his career and needed a lengthy receiver to tower over defenders and be a reliable safety blanket. In December of 2018, Gordon announced he was stepping away from football to focus on his mental health. Gordon was facing another indefinite suspension for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. His time with the Patriots provided a glimmer of hope for the organization and fans of the receiver.
With his recent reinstatement, the hope is Gordon can provide reliable over-the-top receiver play for the Patriots. The Patriots lost the ultimate safety blanket, Rob Gronkowski, to retirement this past spring after winning the Super Bowl. Brady could use another giant weapon to trust on long third down conversions. Be looking for Gordon updates on Sunday afternoons.