Josh Gordon is back in the NFL.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the former Pro Bowl and current New England Patriots wide receiver is being reinstated back into the NFL. For those that don’t remember, the 28-year-old had faced an indefinite ban for violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement under the NFL drug policy late in the 2018 season.
Gordon will be able to return to team as soon as Sunday and can attend — but not play — in the Patriots’ second-to-last preseason game against the Carolina Panthers next Thursday. However, he will be good to go as soon as New England opens the regular season against their rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Week 1.
In 11 games with New England last season, the 6-foot-3 receiver caught 40 passes for 720 yards, three touchdowns and a team-leading 18.0 yards per reception. He sat out the team’s final three regular-season games along with their postseason run to the Super Bowl due to the NFL’s ban.
Josh Gordon’s Troubled NFL Career
The dynamic receiver has struggled with off-the-field issues during the duration of his NFL career, appearing in just 22 games since the start of the 2014 season. He caught 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in his lone Pro Bowl season with the Cleveland Browns in 2013.
However, his career quickly spiraled down after leading the league in receiving yards and being named an All-Pro in 2013. He was suspended multiple times for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy and was indefinitely suspended by the league for his fourth violation during the 2014 season.
After missing the next three full seasons, it had appeared Gordon was getting his career back on the right track. After playing in the Browns’ season-opener in Week 1, he was traded to the Patriots and immediately made an impact for the eventual Super Bowl champions.
However, just as soon as it had appeared Gordon was on the right path, he announced on December 20 that he would be stepping away from football to focus on his mental health. It was later reported that the young receiver would be facing yet another indefinite ban by the NFL due to violating the terms of his reinstatement via the league’s drug policy.
Now, Gordon will receive yet another chance at returning to the field, but as commissioner Roger Goodell warned following his reinstatement, success is ultimately up to the oft-shelved Gordon himself.
“We are all rooting for Josh to succeed, both personally and professionally,” said Goodell. 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.”
Talent-Starved Patriots Offense Receives Boost
Gordon’s return means that the Patriots’ offense will receive the boost that they need. New England lost two of their top receivers in Rob Gronkowski (retirement) and Chris Hogan (Panthers) in the offseason, while Julian Edelman remains on the physically unable to perform list due to a thumb injury.
Veteran wide receiver Demaryius Thomas remains sidelined due to an Achilles injury he suffered at the end of the 2018 season as a member of the Houston Texans and it’s unclear when the 31-year-old will actually return
Tom Brady has been forced to throw to a young and inexperienced receiving corps during training camp.
With Gordon now back in the fold, the 42-year-old veteran quarterback will be more than happy to have one of his favorite receivers back in the fold for 2019.