When the New England Patriots struck a deal to acquire wide receiver Josh Gordon from the Cleveland Browns, there was plenty of intrigue and excitement. Gordon is widely considered as one of the most talented pass-catchers in the NFL, but off-field struggles have impacted his career in a drastic way. The idea of pairing him up with Tom Brady had the attention of the entire NFL, understandably. And while the young wideout’s tenure in New England started off well, things took a turn in December.
Gordon took to social media on December 20 to send a message detailing his decision to step away from football to focus on his mental health. He proceeded to thank Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick in the post.
“I take my mental health very seriously at this point to ensure I remain able to perform at the highest level. I have recently felt like I could have a better grasp on things mentally. With that said, I will be stepping away from the football field for a bit to focus on my mental health. I would like to thank Coach Belichick, Mr. Kraft, as well as countless others within the Patriots organization or their continued support. I want to thanks my fans for their support as well as I continue down the path getting back to 100%.” Gordon wrote.
At the time of this message, Gordon had played 11 games with the Patriots and it came days after the team’s Week 15 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Prior to the 2018 season, the 27-year-old wide receiver has missed two full seasons due to suspension over his career and played in just 11 games from 2014 to 2018 while with the Browns.
Josh Gordon’s Suspension
Very shortly after Gordon’s post on social media, it came to light that he had been suspended indefinitely by the league, per Kevin Patra of NFL.com. There were rumblings prior to the news coming out that this would be the case, and the decision was handed down due to Gordon violating the terms of his reinstatement under the league’s substance abuse policy.
Prior to his suspension, Gordon totaled 40 receptions for 720 yards and three touchdowns over the 11 games he played with the Patriots.
What’s Ahead for Josh Gordon & Possible Return
There’s no clear-cut timeline for when Gordon could return, and there’s also been radio silence on his current status and health. Obviously, the focus is on the young receiver getting whatever help he needs with football taking a backseat.
Although it was stated above that Gordon did not receive a lifetime ban from the NFL, it was also reported that the potential for that to be the case may not be off the table. After the suspension was handed down, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Gordon is “not expected to play again this season or maybe ever again.”
Before the topic of an NFL return even becomes a legitimate talking point, Gordon will first focus on his own health. From that point, there will likely be more clarity on what his future holds.