CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Suspended Browns receiver Josh Gordon has been reinstated on a conditional basis the NFL announced Wednesday.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell granted the reinstatement following a meeting with Gordon and other representatives earlier on Wednesday in New York City.
“As emphasized at today’s meeting, everyone – including Josh’s teammates and coaches, the Browns’ ownership and organization, the Program professionals and all of us at the league office – want him to have every opportunity to resume his career and to be successful in the NFL,” Goodell, said. “Whether that happens, however, at the end of the day will depend on Josh. His commitment to sobriety and to reaching his goals in football and beyond will determine his success. It ultimately is up to Josh.”
Gordon’s return will happen in stages and the earliest he is eligible to play in a game is Dec. 3 at the LA Chargers.
Effective immediately, Gordon, now 26, may join the Browns to attend meetings, engage in conditioning work and individual workouts according to guidelines set forth by the commissioner.
Subject to compliance with clinical and other requirements, Gordon will be placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list and be permitted to practice with the team beginning on Monday, November 20.
Beginning Monday, November 27, Gordon will be eligible at the team’s discretion to return to active status or to remain on the Commissioner’s Exempt list for an additional week before returning to active status.
“We’ve been informed of the league’s decision to reinstate Josh,” Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said. “The personal well-being of all our players is of the utmost importance to us. We respect and commend Josh for taking the steps necessary to have the opportunity to return to the league. Josh will be in our building in the coming days and we look forward to having him back and sitting with him to discuss his future on our team.”
Gordon, who hasn’t appeared in an NFL regular season game since 2014, recently spent over 100 days in a rehab facility in an effort to get clean so he could apply for reinstatement again after being denied by the NFL in March.
“The entire experience has been humbling,” Gordon said in a 13-minute documentary published last month by UNINTERRUPTED.
“I need to live out my amends,” Gordon added. “I need to try to make right for all my past transgressions and mistakes and show and prove I can be a better person, a better man. Somebody who is accountable, reliable because I know what’s on the other side of that. If given the opportunity, I know I can prove my worth.”
In the video Gordon chronicled his drug abuse, which has caused him to be suspended for the last 41 and 51 of the last 56 regular season games, dating back to his college days at Baylor.
Gordon burst onto the scene in 2013 when he led the league with 1,646 yards receiving, scored 9 touchdowns and was named to the Pro Bowl despite playing in just 14 games after serving his the first of many suspensions the first 2 weeks of the season.
Since the Browns selected Gordon in the 2012 Supplemental Draft, he has totaled 53 games in suspensions.
The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement stipulates that 6 games counts as an accrued season, but according to the timeline laid out by the commissioner, the maximum number of games Gordon can play this season would be 5 meaning his contract will toll an additional season for the Browns and he won’t be eligible to become a restricted free agent until 2019. He is scheduled to make $1.068 million in 2018.