Report: Josh Gordon applies for reinstatement to NFL
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns may be gaining an offensive weapon as wide receiver Josh Gordon has reportedly applied to the NFL for reinstatement.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has applied for reinstatement to the NFL, according to ESPN Cleveland.
Citing an anonymous source, the report said that Gordon will learn if he can rejoin the Browns within 60 days of filing his application with the league office.
Gordon missed all of the 2015 NFL season after receiving his third NFL suspension in three years, the latest for violating the league’s substance abuse policy while he was in Stage Three of the league-mandated program.
That suspension came after Gordon failed a test for alcohol following a private flight to Las Vegas with several of his teammates in January of 2015. Gordon had agreed to the alcohol testing program to shave two games off of his 12-game suspension for the 2014 season.
After failing the alcohol test, Gordon said that he believed that the terms of his agreement had expired since the regular season had concluded.
This is great news for the Browns, who can use all the help on offense that they can get, but comes with a big caveat.
Many Browns fans are simply assuming that the Browns will automatically be gaining the Gordon from 2013, a season that saw him lead the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards, making 87 receptions and catching nine touchdowns while earning First Team All-Pro honors.
Of course, after missing all of last season, it is just as likely that the Browns will be gaining the Gordon of 2014, who was disinterested once he returned from his 10-game suspension. In five games that season, Gordon caught just 24 passes for 303 yards and no touchdowns. The team suspended him for the season finale after he was late to practice.
The Browns can’t make the same mistake this year that they made in 2014, where then-general manager Ray Farmer believed the Browns could just wait for Gordon to return and he would pick up right where he left off.
The Browns should certainly welcome Gordon back if/when he is reinstated by the league, as he is a talented player who has shown he can perform at a high level. He also has always come across as someone who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, rather than someone who seeks out trouble.
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But the team must continue to prepare as if Gordon will not be around. The fact remains he has already been suspended three times and the team can never be certain what is waiting around the next corner for Gordon.
Gordon also has not played a competitive game since December of 2014, so no one knows if he can still physically compete. The good news is that, if reinstated, Gordon will be able to participate in the full off-season program, giving him ample time to get his game back up to speed. We see players miss entire seasons due to injuries and come back, so there is no reason to dismiss Gordon’s ability to come back out of hand.
The Browns need to be smart about this, for now, and do what they can to improve the offense outside of adding Gordon. If he does come back and performs, then it is just icing on the cake. If he doesn’t, then it shouldn’t hurt the team as much as it did in 2014.