Wide receiver Josh Gordon will officially be reinstated by the NFL and will join the New England Patriots this season. The big news comes just weeks ahead of the start of the regular season.
Last season, Gordon was traded to the team but never finished out the season, thus not participating in the Super Bowl win with the Pats. So why was Josh Gordon suspended last season?
Here are more details about his ongoing situation with the league.
Gordon left Patriots last December, suspended by NFL
The New England Patriots acquired Josh Gordon last September as part of a trade with the Cleveland Browns. He ended up playing in 11 games with the Patriots and was the recipient of Tom Brady’s 500th pass in his legendary career.
However, as of December 20, 2018, Gordon announced he was leaving the NFL to focus on his mental health situation. After that announcement by Gordon, the NFL announced that he was suspended indefinitely for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the league’s substance-abuse policy.
When that news arrived, some people believed Gordon might never return to the football field.
He previously missed both the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. He returned for the Browns in 2017 under a conditional reinstatement by the NFL but only played five games.
In 2018, he played just one game for the Browns and then 11 after being traded to New England. After leaving in December and being suspended, he wasn’t part of the Patriots’ playoff run.
He finished the season with four touchdowns and 737 yards on 41 receptions, per Football-Reference stats.
In a previous interview in 2017, Gordon admitted to using marijuana and drinking before games. He also said in a 2017 mini-documentary he was in online that he’d used Xanax, cocaine, marijuana, and other narcotics before.
Gordon reinstated by the NFL for 2019 season
It appears that Gordon is going to make a return, though as he applied for reinstatement last week, and it will reportedly be granted as of Aug. 18.
According to an ESPN report on Friday (Aug. 16), NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had sole discretion in terms of deciding to reinstate Josh Gordon. He’s eligible to participate in the 2019 NFL Season “on a conditional basis.”
NFL statement on Josh Gordon’s conditional reinstatement. pic.twitter.com/Ada0paOIJo
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 16, 2019
Goodell said in a statement, “We are all rooting for Josh to succeed, both personally and professionally. Everyone shares in that hope and will continue to support him to every extent possible. But as Josh acknowledged, ultimately his success is up to him.”
Since he signed a restricted free-agent tender this past April with New England, he’ll earn $2.025 million for his salary this season. His reinstatement begins Aug. 18, which is one day after the Patriots’ next preseason game. Based on ESPN’s report, he won’t participate in next Thursday’s preseason game either due to a general lack of practice and conditioning.
At Vegas Insider’s NFL future odds, the New England Patriots are tied with the Kansas City Chiefs as 6-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl in 2020. The addition of Josh Gordon could certainly boost them as overall favorites, but that remains to be seen as the oddsmakers will adjust the numbers.
The team opens the regular season on Sunday, September 8 with NBC’s Sunday Night Football matchup at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers.