New Browns coach Hue Jackson has a reputation for explosive offense, and for reaching people others cannot.
He may have a chance to kill two birds with one stone, as one of his new team’s best players is taking steps toward a return.
According to Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, suspended Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has applied for reinstatement from his indefinite suspension for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.
Gordon was suspended on Feb. 3, 2015 for his third violation of the league’s policy, and by rule could apply for reinstatement within 60 days of the anniversary of the suspension. The league has a 60-day window to act on the application.
Gordon failed a test for alcohol after the 2014 season, which came after a 10-game suspension following his July 2014 DWI arrest.
He will interview with the league’s medical director, and demonstrate that his track record of substance abuse is behind him.
“To be reinstated, a player must demonstrate sustained abstinence,” league spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement. “In support of their applications, players generally put forward verifiable testing records and/or submit to periodic NFL testing during the banishment period.”
Before his alcohol-related suspensions, Gordon had a history of marijuana-related suspensions in college.
If he’s committed to playing in the NFL, Gordon has proven he can be one of its best players. He led the league in receiving yards in 2013 despite playing in just 14 games.
Jackson was noncommittal when asked about Gordon last week.
“What I’m anxious to do is evaluate him just like we’re going to evaluate every player on our roster and see if they are the right fit for the Cleveland Browns,” Jackson said. “That’s what we have to do with every player, whether that’s Josh Gordon to whoever the last guy is on the roster.”
If the league clears him, he’d offer Jackson a much better chance to turn things around. But as Gordon has proven in his career, assuming eligibility would be a mistake.