Gordon filed for reinstatement a couple of weeks ago, and it didn’t take too long for Roger Goodell to let him back in. Gordon was indefinitely suspended back in December for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, but New England made it very clear they weren’t giving up on the talented young wideout. The Patriots tendered him a contract, and video surfaced in June of Gordon working out with Tom Brady.
Gordon isn’t allowed to report to the team until this Sunday and he won’t be able to play in next week’s preseason game, but he won’t have to serve any suspension to start the regular season, a source told Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). The Browns finally threw in the towel on Gordon at the beginning of last season, and the Patriots quickly swooped him up for a fifth-round pick.
He appeared in 11 games for the Patriots last year, catching 40 passes for 720 yards and and three touchdowns. Late in the year he suddenly revealed he was stepping away from the team, and not long after it was announced that he was being slapped with the indefinite ban.
Goodell and the league released an official announcement on the reinstatement, via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). “We are all rooting for Josh to succeed, both personally and professionally,” Goodell said in a statement. “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.”
Gordon has always been supremely talented, but has been plagued by substance abuse issues since entering the league through the Supplemental Draft back in 2012. Assuming he can stay on the field, it’s a huge win for the Pats. There’s been a lot of talk this offseason about New England not having a great group of skill position players in the wake of Rob Gronkowski‘s retirement, and Gordon’s return will do a lot to assuage those concerns.
The Patriots receiving corp will now include Gordon, Julian Edelman, first-round pick N’Keal Harry, and Cameron Meredith and Demaryius Thomas if they can get healthy. Still only 28, Gordon should be only entering the prime of his career. Here’s to hoping he’s in a good place mentally and can make the most of this latest opportunity.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.