BEREA, Ohio -- When Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has been eligible to play in the National Football League, his talent has resulted in a Pro Bowl appearance and multiple franchise records, but his accomplishments on the field have paled in comparison to his struggles away from the game.
Gordon remains suspended because of multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and his future in the league is still very much a mystery, even to the man in charge of reviewing his application, Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“I don’t the status, that’s not something I handle on a daily basis,” Goodell told the Cleveland faithful at a Browns Fan Forum in Berea Thursday. “He has entered into the program, and he obviously, has confidential and privacy issues that we always respect.
“When a decision is made on his reinstatement one way or the other, we make that clear to the clubs and also, publically. That’s not something under active consideration to my knowledge, at least it hasn’t gotten to my desk yet.”
Since joining the Browns through a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft, Gordon has turned 161 passes 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.
His yardage total, average yards per game (117.6), 18.9 yards per reception and 95-yard touchdown were NFL bests.
However, Gordon has been suspended for 33 of the last 48 games, and remains under a league ban 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 rest of the season.
His latest application for reinstatement during the offseason was denied by the league.
“A lot gets focused on Josh as the player, but we are arm in arm with the league, the most important thing for Josh is for Josh as a young man to get himself to a point where he’s past some of the issues that have prevented him from participating,” said Sashi Brown, the Browns’ executive vice president of football operations.
“Once we get to that stage, those questions will be answered in terms of his return to the field, but we care first and foremost about the young man, and that’s where the focus will remain until we get to that point.”