CLEVELAND (AP) — Josh Gordon’s curious and complicated career has taken a new turn.
He’s getting yet another chance.
The talented but troubled wide receiver has been reinstated on a conditional basis by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who met face to face with Gordon last week and said he believes the 25-year-old can “make the right choices” going forward.
Gordon has been banned since February 2015 for multiple violations of the league’s drug policies. He will be suspended for the first four games of the 2016-17, but he’s allowed to join the team in its upcoming training camp and can participate in meetings and conditioning work. The league said once Gordon meets clinical requirements, he can take part in preseason activities, including practices and games.
It’s a fresh start for Gordon, who emerged as one of the league’s rising stars in 2013 before several missteps led to his banishment.
As long as he stays clean, Gordon, who met with Goodell in New York on July 19, is eligible to return to the team on Oct. 3. During his four-game suspension, Gordon may participate in team meetings and other activities but can’t practice or play in games.
Gordon was suspended 10 games in 2014 and the entire 2015 season for substance violations, a pattern that began during his college career at Baylor and Utah. He was denied reinstatement in April after failing a drug test because of samples that also tested positive for marijuana.
In a letter to Gordon, Goodell made it clear the onus is on the 25-year-old former Pro Bowler to stay clean.
“As we discussed at our (July 19) meeting, as Commissioner, I want nothing more than to see you turn your circumstances around and succeed,” Goodell said. “Countless others including your agent, teammates and coaches, (owner) Jimmy Haslam and 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, ultimately, 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.”
The Browns open training camp on Friday under first-year coach Hue Jackson, who has mostly steered clear of discussing Gordon or his future.
The team has not yet commented on Gordon’s conditional reinstatement.
Gordon broke out in 2013, when he led the league with 1,646 yards receiving, scored nine touchdowns and averaged 117.6 yards per game.
With his future unclear, the Browns selected Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman in the first round of this year’s draft.