Under the substance-abuse policy, a player banished for at least a full year under the program cannot be with the team during the suspension. For Browns receiver Josh Gordon, the conditional reinstatement crafted by Commissioner Roger Goodell allows Gordon to be with the team throughout training camp, the preseason, and during his four-game suspension to start the year.
While Gordon can’t practice or play during the first four weeks, he can with the team as he attempts to remain on the right path to full reinstatement.
Goodell called agent Drew Rosenhaus on Monday and explained that Goodell specifically opted to craft an outcome that allows Gordon to return to the team with the most support possible, despite the decision to keep him off the field for four additional weeks.
“He wants to give Josh another opportunity,” Rosenhaus told PFT. “He liked Josh and wants to help him and he deserves another chance.”
Apart from helping Gordon get the most out of his latest second chance (he was suspended two games in 2013 and 10 games in 2014), Rosenhaus said Goodell explained he specifically wants to show the NFL Players Association that he is capable of and willing to fashion outcomes aimed at assisting players and cooperating with the union. Rosenhaus added that the NFLPA has been unwavering in its support of Josh Gordon.
At a time when there’s a perception that otherwise able players are choosing to no longer play, it frankly makes sense to help players who are willing to play to find their way back to the field.
Rosenhaus said Gordon is “elated” by the news and that Gordon is immediately heading for Cleveland. The carefully-constructed terms of the reinstatement suggest that the Browns are on board with it, and that they fully intend to keep Gordon as he continues to work through the various things he still must do in order to earn full reinstatement.
“Countless others including your agent, teammates and coaches, Mr. Haslam and the leadership of the organization, the [drug-testing program] professionals and Jim Brown also have pledged to provide you with every resource at their disposal,” Goodell wrote to Gordon in the letter explaining the reinstatement. “But as you acknowledged, ultimately, your future is your responsibility. I have every belief that you can make the right choices, but it will be up to you to do so.”
The development gives the Browns hope for a significant boost to the passing game as of Week Five, when Gordon could be returning for Tom Brady’s return as the Browns prepare to host the Patriots.