Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is reportedly out of rehab after a 30-day stay. The question now becomes what is the next move from the NFL and the Browns?
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who still remains on the NFL’s suspended list, has reportedly been released from a rehab facility.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report that Gordon has completed his 30-day stay in a New Hampshire facility, one that Schefter writes was “the most intensive treatment that (Gordon) has gone through, and Gordon is doing a lot better.”
The question now is what comes next for Gordon and the Browns? There are a few scenarios in play here:
- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell can allow Gordon to return to the Browns and resume attending team meetings – but not practicing or playing in games – but keep him on the suspended list.
- Goodell can immediately reinstate Gordon – which was the assumption before Gordon entered rehab – leaving Gordon’s immediate future in the hands of the Browns.
- Goodell can do nothing for the time being, giving everyone involved an opportunity to decide what the best course of action is.
From a Browns standpoint, the third option is probably the most ideal. Head coach Hue Jackson has made it clear that the team is done with Gordon and the latest news does nothing to change that.
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If the league were to let Gordon return to the Browns he will be nothing more than a distraction to the club. Jackson has his hands full as it is in trying to teach this team what it takes to play at the NFL level and evaluate the roster. Having to deal with a player who is suspended but still part of the team is a headache he probably doesn’t need right now.
The Browns could solve that by just making Gordon inactive on game days, but that would cause its own firestorm from a portion of the fan base that still believes Gordon is a Pro Bowl receiver.
It is possible that Goodell could move quickly and reinstate Gordon before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline, giving the Browns the opportunity to move Gordon to another team. But what real trade value is there for a player that has been suspended for 35 of the past 40 games and has just one productive season on his résumé?
Having Gordon be someone else’s headache sounds great, but at this point seems like more of a pleasant fiction than anything else.
If Gordon is reinstated before Tuesday the Browns could try to work out a deal and, when that comes up empty, simply release him. But if that were to happen and another team did not pick up Gordon, he would be on his own, which is probably not an ideal situation for him given his past troubles.
It is a tricky situation, given that the Browns (and the NFL) have to do what’s best for the team while balancing out what they can do to help Gordon get his life in order.
It appeared that the Browns had closed the book on Gordon at the end of September. Now it seems as if there are at least a few more pages that still need to be written.