Cleveland Browns: Josh Gordon given final chance by NFL


The Cleveland Browns were given a pleasant surprise when Josh Gordon was reinstated by the NFL Monday afternoon.

The main news surrounding the Cleveland Browns entering this week had to do with training camp starting this Friday. The rookies, quarterbacks and injured veterans reported to camp Monday, but the focus was still largely on Friday.

That was until Josh Gordon was reinstated by Roger Goodell for the 2016 season.

The reinstatement is conditional in the sense Gordon must not slip up at all, but this is still great news for the Browns. Gordon did not play a single game in 2015 and only played five in 2014, but his 1,646 receiving yards in 2013 is enough to give Browns fans hope that Gordon can be an elite NFL receiver once again.

In Goodell’s reinstatement letter to Gordon, he made it clear that Gordon’s fate is now in his own hands:

"“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.”"

Giving Gordon another chance was a surprising move, and Goodell made it clear that if Gordon is suspended again, it will not be because of a lack of second and third chances.

Gordon is once again in control of his own fate as an NFL player, which may scare some fans based on his inability to avoid getting into trouble and getting suspended in the recent past. But this time may be different because Gordon is not going to get another chance if he slips up again. It just depends on whether he realizes this fact.

The conditional reinstatement means Gordon still has to prove to Goodell and to the Browns that he should be allowed back into the league with no restrictions. The team is going to help Gordon reach his goal, but after dealing with the antics of Johnny Manziel, there will be no hesitation to cut or trade Gordon if things seem to be going the way of his repeated patterns of behavior.

The four-game suspension gives the coaching staff and the front office some time to monitor Gordon and see where he is as not only a player, but as a person. He will be allowed to practice during training camp and play in preseason games, but there is still a long way to go for him to earn back the trust of his teammates and the new coaching staff.

The good news is that Gordon is only 25 years old and has only played in 35 games in his four years as a member of the Browns. His reinstatement likely means he proved to Goodell that he has been working toward a return, which should mean he is physically ready to return to the field.

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It will be great to have Gordon back on the practice field, but fans will wake up each day praying that the morning does not greet them with the news of another failed drug test. Gordon may say he is a changed person, but there is still a long way to go before he is embraced the same way he was during the 2013 season.