Both Gordon and Bryant are suspended — not banished — from the NFL, which, as Pelissero note,s in an important distinction given that banishment would have lead to a one-year minimum absence from the league. However, both pass-catchers’ suspensions are indefinite in nature, so there’s no clear timeframe on when they can attempt to re-enter the NFL.
Nevertheless, if both Gordon and Bryant execute their treatment plans in accordance with the league’s wishes, the NFLPA may begin to “lay groundwork” for returns in May, per Pelissero. Such a plan could could potentially put both players back on the field by training camp, something Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported — at least, in the case of Gordon — on Wednesday.
Gordon, whom the Patriots acquired at midseason from the Browns, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent next month, so New England will soon need to decide at what level it will tender the 27-year-old. Bryant, meanwhile, was traded from the Steelers to the Raiders during the draft, but was subsequently cut and re-signed in September. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in March, but clearly shouldn’t be expected to find a new team until later this summer, at the least.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.