Roger Goodell slows down talk of Josh Gordon’s imminent return

(Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Welker/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns hosted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday and his comments about Josh Gordon set off another flurry of false hope from fans.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was a guest of the Cleveland Browns on Thursday and met with season-ticket holders as part of the day’s festivities.

Goodell may rethink that strategy in the future, however, as during a question-and-answer period he was asked about the status of wide receiver Josh Gordon, who remains on the league’s suspension list.

While there continues to be unfounded speculation that Gordon’s return is imminent, Goodell’s response paints a different picture, according to The Plain Dealer‘s Mary Kay Cabot:

Now, depending on where you fall on the issue of Gordon returning to the Browns, you can take that message one of two ways.

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If you are pining away for a player that hasn’t played in almost three years and only has one good season at the pro level, which occurred almost four years ago, Goodell’s comments mean that he has a rubber stamp just waiting to approve Gordon’s return to the NFL and the Browns.

A more reasoned take, however, is that there is simply no news, which has been the case since May, when the NFL rejected Gordon’s last attempt at reinstatement. At that time it was established that Gordon could not apply again until September, which is still a few weeks away.

it is also important to remember that it was March of this year when Gordon last applied for reinstatement, and the league office did not issue a determination until May. The league does not have a set timetable for acting on the appeals, and does not rush when it comes to making decisions.

Even if Gordon’s representatives have his paperwork all collated, stapled and ready to submit on Sept. 1, it doesn’t seem likely that a ruling – positive or negative – will arrive in a swift fashion. There is also the little matter of whether or not the Browns will welcome Gordon back to the team. The players and coaching staff are busy getting ready for the upcoming season and may not have time for a player who hasn’t played in since 2014.

For those who may not be up to speed on the Gordon saga, he was suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season, followed that up with an 11-game suspension for the 2014 season, and went all the way with a season-long suspension in 2015.

It looked as if Gordon just might come back last season, as he was conditionally re-instated by the NFL and was scheduled to return following a four-game suspension to open the season. That all fell apart after he entered a rehab facility and has remained on the suspended list ever since.

Next: The definitive DPD retrospective of Josh Gordon

Put it all together, and Gordon has only played in 19 of Cleveland’s last 64 games due to suspensions.

It doesn’t sound like that will be changing any time soon.