After multiple violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, Gordon was forced to sit out the entire 2015 season on an indefinite suspension that Goodell lifted in July, with the conditions that the 25-year-old sit out the first four games and continue to demonstrate a change in his behavior. Gordon, whose issues with substance abuse go back to his days at Baylor, also served suspensions in 2013 and 2014.
After what sources described to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport as a “slip-up,” Gordon announced last week that he needed to “step away from pursuing [his] return to the Browns and [his] football career to enter an in-patient rehabilitation facility.” He added, “I appreciate the support of the NFL, NFLPA, the Browns, my teammates, my agent and the community through this extremely challenging process.”
The Browns issued a statement of support for Gordon but were also reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter to have been shopping him before he checked himself into the facility. On Thursday, Browns Coach Hue Jackson made it clear that the receiver was no longer in the team’s plans.
“What’s best for our football team is that we move forward and move on,” Jackson said (via cleveland.com). “He’s not going to be with us and we wish him well, but we’re moving forward. We’re going to move on.
“Obviously Josh is not here and doing what he thinks he needs to for his life, which we support 100 percent,” Jackson added. “… I think what we need to do is just close that chapter right now.”
Gordon entered the league as a second-round pick by Cleveland in the 2012 supplemental draft, after he sat out the 2011 college season following an indefinite suspension by Baylor and a transfer to Utah, for which he did not play. He showed promise in his rookie season, then exploded in 2013 — after sitting out the first two games — with 87 catches for a league-leading 1,646 yards, plus nine touchdowns.
However, since that season, Gordon has played in only five of a possible 36 games, and none since December 2014.