Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon has returned to the team, but he still has some hurdles to jump before he’s fully reinstated by the NFL.
That means Gordon will not practice let alone play until the league determines he’s ready to do so. Gordon’s treatment plan is managed by the NFL, so they will make the call on when he has satisfied that jointly negotiated—by the player, league, team—treatment plan.
Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s lead spokesman, said Gordon returning to the Browns is “part of the process” but that there is “no timetable for the next steps,” per the Plain Dealer’s May Kay Cabot.
Gordon has been moved to the active “non-football injury” list from the reserve “did not report” list, meaning the Browns must open up a roster spot despite him not being allowed to participate in practice, per Cabot. He can, however, attend meetings and conditioning sessions until that determination is made.
UPDATE: The Browns made roster moves corresponding with Gordon’s activation, including signing tight end Stephen Baggett, waiving defensive back Micah Hannemann, and waiving tight end Julian Allen with an injury designation.
The troubled but infinitely talented wide receiver missed 44 straight games before returning to the Browns for the final five games of the 2017 season.
Gordon has not failed a drug test, according to multiple sources.
General manager John Dorsey released a statement through the team’s communications department:
First off, we are pleased for Josh. His overall health and well-being is what is most important. We commend Josh for his hard work, commitment and focus on becoming the best version of himself. We are glad Josh has reached a point where he can return to our organization, be in our building and be around his teammates. As he assimilates back to our team, Josh will initially participate in meetings and conditioning and will gradually resume all football activities as deemed appropriate.
Josh Gordon’s Twitter statement was also released by the team:
Dear Cleveland Browns and NFL family,
Thank you for your love, support, and most importantly your patience as I took the time needed to ensure my overall mental and physical health.
More specifically, I would like to thank the NFL, NFLPA, the entire Cleveland Browns organization, the University of Florida, and my friend and business manager Michael Johnson Jr for playing such pivotal roles during this process. This has by no means been an easy road and I’m extremely grateful to have all of you in my life.
As I humbly return to being a member of this team with an opportunity to get back to playing this game I love, I realize in order for me to reach my full potential my primary focus must remain on my sobriety and mental well-being.
Let’s get to work!