It seems Josh Gordon will be back on the field in 2016 after all.
The Browns' stud receiver was initially denied reinstatement by the league earlier this offseason after reportedly failing another offseason drug test. However, Gordon has since applied for reinstatement, which he was granted on Monday, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.
#Browns WR Josh Gordon is being reinstated, source said. He’s suspended for the first 4 games.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 25, 2016
#Browns WR Josh Gordon’s reinstatement is conditional, source said. But he can participate in training camp— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 25, 2016
Josh Gordon will be playing in preseason games, tho he’ll still have to participate in treatment. When he’s suspended, he CAN be in meetings— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 25, 2016
If the conditions of this suspension hold up, Gordon would return in Week 5 against the Patriots. That's also the same game in which Tom Brady will make his 2016 debut after being suspended for the first four games due to his role in Deflategate.
Gordon was suspended for the entire 2015 season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. He was also suspended for the first 10 games of 2014 for a similar violation. He was suspended by the Browns for the 2014 season finale at Baltimore because of a violation of team rules.
Despite being suspended in 2013 for two games for his first violation of the NFL's Substance Abuse Policy, Gordon led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards and became the first player in NFL history with consecutive 200-yard receiving games. In his three years with the Browns, Gordon has 161 receptions, 2,754 yards and 14 touchdowns.
However, Gordon caught just 24 passes for 303 yards in five games during the 2014 season before missing all of 2015. It's sad to see anyone's career go how Gordon's has gone to this point this way, especially with an all-pro talent like Gordon.
Gordon's once-promising NFL career nearly went off the rails altogether with his latest infraction earlier this offseason, but it looks look like he'll have a chance to revive it this coming season.
Another chance is there for Gordon to get back into the NFL and make his mark on a Browns' offense in desperate need of offensive playmakers, that is assuming the Browns still want him on their roster. This should, in theory, make life a lot easier for new Browns head coach Hue Jackson to carry this franchise out of the NFL cellar-dwellers and make them a respectable team.