When receiver Josh Gordon will have his indefinite suspension lifted by the NFL is one of the big questions surrounding the New England Patriots as the team progresses toward training camp in late July.
Gordon appeared to be in Foxborough when the Patriots received their Super Bowl LIII championship rings from Robert Kraft last week. He noted that as his location in an Instagram story posted on the day of the ceremony.
But on the June 12 episode of the “Patriots Unfiltered” podcast, hosts Fred Kirsch, Paul Perillo, Erik Scalavino and Megan O’Brien revealed that, contrary to reports, Gordon did not attend the festivities at Kraft’s house. That probably shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that Gordon’s suspension prohibits him from all team activities including workouts, practices and team functions.
You can listen to the show here (the Gordon conversation is at the 1:17:40 mark):
The apparent misunderstanding over Gordon attending the ceremony stemmed from his name being written on a name tag, which was sent to him. Gordon showed the tag on Instagram, which led some to believe that he was with the team. But he wasn’t allowed to be, per his suspension. It seems likely that he received his Super Bowl ring, however.
The Patriots have taken steps to improve their receiving corps from last season when Julian Edelman often seemed to be the only receiver who could consistently beat man-to-man coverage. No. 1 draft pick N’Keal Harry is expected to start and make an impact, while free agent signee Maurice Harris stood out in spring minicamp. The hope is that former Pro Bowler Demaryius Thomas can also contribute once he recovers from an Achilles injury.
But Gordon, 27, is the game-changer among the group. In his 11 games with the Patriots before leaving, he caught 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns. Only Edelman had more yards among New England receivers and Gordon’s 18 yards per catch average demonstrated the big-play ability he promises.
Gordon left the team last December, telling fans on social media that he needed to focus on his mental health. Soon thereafter, the NFL issued an indefinite suspension for violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement. Gordon had been suspended three previous times by the league for substance abuse violations. Earlier this year, NESN’s Doug Kyed reported that Gordon was receiving treatment at an inpatient facility in Florida where he was also working out.
The Patriots signed Gordon to a restricted free agent tender in April, which will pay him a $2.025 million base salary if (or when) he’s reinstated. Other NFL teams could attempt to sign Gordon away from the Patriots but would likely not take the risk on a player with Gordon’s history. Additionally, any club that signed Gordon would have to yield a second-round pick to New England.
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