It was announced on Monday that Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is back. Gordon has been reinstated on a conditional basis. He will be allowed to participate in Training Camp starting Friday July 29th. However, he will be required to serve a four-game suspension to start off the season.
After failing yet another drug test in March, Gordon reportedly met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last Wednesday to discuss his future with the league. He wasn’t supposed to be able to apply for reinstatement until August 1st, but Goodell decided to accelerate the process.
In a letter written by Goodell sent to Gordon released by the NFL, Gordon’s future in the NFL was discussed. Goodell wrote, “As we discussed at our (July 19) meeting, as Commissioner, I want nothing more than to see you turn your circumstances around and succeed. Countless others including your agent, teammates and coaches, the leadership of the organization, the Program professionals and Jim Brown also have pledged to provide you with every resource at their disposal. But as you acknowledged, your future is your responsibility. I have every belief that you can make the right choices, but it will be up to you to do so.”
Gordon hasn’t played in a game since December 2014 due to his numerous drug-related suspensions. After spending the first four weeks of the season suspended, Gordon is set to return, ironically, in Week 5 against the New England Patriots—this will also be Tom Brady’s first game back after serving his four-game suspension as well.
Upon his return, Gordon will likely be the starting receiver across from rookie wideout Corey Coleman. If Gordon can return to peak form and Coleman can successfully grow into a high-caliber wide receiver, the Browns are set to have a very good receiving corps. Gordon’s athletic ability as a wide receiver has been severely missed. In 2013, Gordon led the NFL in receiving yards while only playing in 14 games.
Browns fans will likely be ecstatic at the thought of having a player as talented as Gordon back in the lineup. At 25 years old, he still has a lot of seasons left in him. He has the physical ability to return to the same level of play he exhibited during his first couple of seasons in the league. The Browns could benefit from having an older player who can help guide and lead the young rookie receivers. But in the words of Goodell, Gordon’s future in the NFL will predominantly reside on himself. He himself is responsible for his future with the Browns. He can either stay out of trouble or repeat the mistakes of his past—only time will tell.
*Featured photo courtesy of: it.wikipedia.org