The hopes that New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon had turned a corner and potentially gotten fully on the right track have been halted, at least for now. On Thursday, Gordon revealed he has stepped away from the team in order to take care of his mental health.
Things took another turn shortly after, as rumblings of looming discipline came to light. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the wide receiver is facing a potential suspension for violating terms of his conditional reinstatement under the NFL drug policy.
Update: Gordon has been suspended by the league, per The Athletic’s Jeff Howe.
Gordon was traded to the Patriots in exchange for a fifth-round pick this season, while the Cleveland Browns sent a seventh-rounder back to New England. Gordon, 27, played just one game with the Browns this season but 11 with the Patriots through the first 15 weeks.
Josh Gordon’s Success With Patriots
Although it took a few games for Gordon to get acclimated with the Patriots, he’s posted strong numbers since teaming up with Tom Brady and company. Gordon has hauled in 40-of-68 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns. Aside from a tough Week 15 showing against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Gordon had topped 50 yards in the five games prior while catching two touchdowns in that span.
The young receiver quickly became a go-to target for Brady, receiving five or more targets in seven of the games he played. His pace through 11 games would have likely resulted in Gordon posting the second-best all-around season of his NFL career. The best stretch of his career came in 2013 when he caught 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games.
Josh Gordon Suspension History
Prior to the start of the 2018 NFL season, Gordon had missed 43 of the Browns’ previous 48 games. As Nicole Yang of Boston.com detailed, the receiver’s troubles with drugs began back in middle and high school. He struggled to remain on the field during his NFL career due to the same off-field issues.
While Gordon played 16 games as a rookie in 2012, he was suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy in 2013 to start the year. Gordon was then suspended for the entire 2014 season after being arrested for a DWI in Raleigh, North Carolina. Less than a year later, news had come to light that he had violated the league’s substance abuse policy with alcohol, and would miss the entire 2015 season due to suspension.
As Yang and Boston.com proceeded to detail, Gordon was denied reinstatement in 2016 originally, but ultimately received it months later with a four-game suspension still looming to start the year. Gordon went to different rehabs from that point on and did not play a snap until the end of the 2017 season.