Josh Gordon will not be returning to the Browns on Monday and there are serious questions as to if he ever will.
Gordon, who was scheduled for reinstatement by the NFL following another suspension that was the result of a questionable drug test earlier this year on Monday, has left the team and entered a treatment facility.
“It’s unfortunate,” head coach Hue Jackson said on the Hue Jackson show that aired Thursday night on the Cleveland Browns Radio Network. “I think Josh needs to do what is best for Josh. I think we all support him 100 percent and we want the best for him but we understand at this time he won’t be with us and we’ll move forward from there.”
Gordon and the Browns announced the news in a pair of statements – one from Gordon and the other from executive VP of football operations Sashi Brown – Thursday afternoon.
“After careful thought and deep consideration I’ve decided that I need to step away from pursuing my return to the Browns and my football career to enter an in-patient rehabilitation facility,” Gordon said. “This is the right decision for me and one that I hope will enable me to gain full control of my life and continue on a path to reach my full potential as a person. I appreciate the support of the NFL, NFLPA, the Browns, my teammates, my agent and the community through this extremely challenging process.”
Gordon followed up his statement with a tweet: “Under some pressure & stress recently, had to take a time out for myself.Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you. Thank u @nfl @Browns.”
During the 4-game suspension to start the 2016 season Gordon was permitted to work out in the Browns facility and attend team meetings. Gordon was just prohibited from practice and games. He participated in training camp after returning from a leg injury following his conditional reinstatement by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on July 28.
The new Browns regime got a glimpse of Gordon’s breathtaking talent in the third preseason game at Tampa Bay that saw him torch Buccaneers corner Brent Grimes on a 44-yard catch and run from Robert Griffin III on the opening drive of the night and then he out-wrestled Grimes for a 43-yard touchdown.
All of that now takes a back seat as Gordon tries to get his life in order.
“We support Josh in taking this step to seek additional help and treatment. His singular focus must be on his own health. We want nothing more than for Josh to be successful personally and professionally and will not comment on his status with the organization at this time,” Brown said in his statement.
Gordon has been suspended in each of his last 4 seasons and a total of 33 games including this week’s contest at Washington. He led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards in 2013 and was elected to the Pro Bowl despite playing in 14 games.