CLEVELAND -- After three years of suspensions from the National Football League because of multiple violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was conditionally reinstated on Wednesday, November 1.
And if Gordon hopes to be an impactful player when eligible to return against the Los Angeles Chargers on December 3, he must demonstrate a commitment to success, both on and off the field.
“We want guys who want to be good players, guys who want to contribute and be great teammates and guys who want to do great in the community,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said.
“I think you guys know me, I’m not for any of that shenanigans stuff. We are not going to have that. I think Josh knows that. I think if Josh is back here, he is going to conform and do the things that we need him to do to be a contributing member of this football team.”
Gordon can return to practice on Monday, November 20, but can attend meetings and go through individual workouts immediately. Gordon was set to return to the team facility Tuesday, but before he did, a feature done by GQ reported that he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs for every game of his career.
“He is a guy that has an opportunity to move forward in his life,” Jackson said. “Do we want to have all the other things that come with it? I think hopefully, that is behind him. We don’t -- let’s just be honest -- we don’t want those things.
“As we move forward, if he can do the things that we do as football team members and conduct himself the right way in the community and handle those things, Josh Gordon is welcome back here.”
Since joining the Browns through a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft, Gordon has turned 161 catches into 2,754 yards and 14 touchdowns. A Pro Bowl player in 2013, Gordon set a franchise record with an NFL-best 1,646 yards on 87 receptions with nine of those catches going for touchdowns after missing the first two games of the season because of a suspension.
His yardage total, average yards per game (117.6), 18.9 yards per reception and 95-yard touchdown were NFL bests.
“A really good player, very physical, very fast, strong, could catch, run every route that we have in our system and can contribute to our football team,” Jackson said.
Gordon has been suspended for a total of 53 career games, 52 of which were NFL bans for positive drug and alcohol tests.
Originally, Gordon was to serve a four-game ban before being eligible to play in 2016, but he checked into a rehabilitation facility just prior to his return citing a relapse after finding out the status of a paternity test and remained suspended for the balance of the season.
“That was not the player that I saw and got to know, but those things happen,” Jackson said. “Again, we are talking about a very serious problem. Those things do exist. We know they exist not just for football teams. They exist throughout the world, so it is an issue.”