Receiver Josh Gordon is suspended from the NFL. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be playing football this year.
Per a league source, Gordon has asked the Browns for permission to play in the CFL for the balance of the Canadian league’s season. Permission is required because Gordon remains under contract with the Browns.
Here’s the relevant language, from paragraph 3 of the NFL Player Contract: “Without prior written consent of the Club, Player will not play football or engage in activities related to football otherwise than for Club or engage in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury.”
In 2007, the Titans actually sued cornerback Pacman Jones, who wanted to do a little pro wrestling during his one-year suspension. Jones ultimately agreed to not actually do anything that could risk injury.
But the Browns may not have the last word, if they agree to let Gordon go to the CFL. After the Dolphins allowed then-suspended running back Ricky Williams to play for the Toronto Argonauts, the CFL reportedly adopted a policy preventing suspended NFL players from playing in the CFL.
Then again, receiver LaVon Brazill remains suspended by the NFL, and he recently joined the Toronto Arognauts’ practice squad. Being cut by the Colts means that he needs no permission to play in Canada. But Brazill’s NFL suspension remains in full force and effect.
So whatever the CFL’s current policy is or isn’t, it’s apparently sufficiently malleable to allow the league to do whatever it wants to do. Why wouldn’t it want Gordon?