Josh Gordon reinstatement: Why the NFL could lift suspensions for wide receivers

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday that Josh Gordon may be eligible for reinstatement by NFL. Roger Goodell, the NFLPA's commissioner, is still the final authority to lift Gordon's suspension.

Josh Gordon reinstatement: Why the NFL could lift suspensions for wide receivers

Gordon's possible reinstatement is the latest chapter of his slowing, frustrating NFL career. When he has been allowed to play, Gordon has proven himself to be one the best receivers in the league. However, his struggles with substance abuse and subsequent NFL suspensions have dominated Gordon's time in the league. It remains to be seen if he is able to stay on the commissioner's exempte list, if at all.

Sporting News now breaks down Gordon's chances of reinstatement, how many NFL suspensions he has had to face, and much more.

Why is Josh Gordon being reinstated in the NFL?

Since December 2019, Gordon was indefinitely suspended by the NFL. The league conditionally reinstated Gordon in December 2020. He had signed three months earlier with the Seahawks, and the team was confident that he would be fully restored later in the season. However, it was rescinded Jan. 15, 2021.

A spokesperson for the NFL told ESPN that Gordon had broken the league's substance abuse policy. He did not provide further details. Gordon joined Zappers of Fan Controlled Football on March 2021 after his January reinstatement was canceled. He was reunited with Johnny Manziel, former Browns quarterback.

Gordon submitted his letter of recalibration to Goodell in July.

What was Josh Gordon's reaction to being suspended?

Gordon was suspended indefinitely in December 2019 for violating the NFL's policies on performance-enhancing substances and substances of abuse.

A spokesperson for the NFL told ESPN that he had broken the substance-abuse policy. He did not offer further details. However, sources told ESPN that he was having a difficult time recovering from his substance abuse.

How many times have Josh Gordon been suspended?

When the NFL suspended Gordon in December 2019, it was his fifth suspension related to the NFL's policies on substances of abuse and performance-enhancing drugs and sixth overall. Here is a list of all his suspensions during his time in the NFL.

June 7, 2013, Gordon is charged with violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He is suspended from the Browns' first two matches of the season.

Aug. August 27, 2014 -- Gordon is expelled for one year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy a second.

Dec. Dec. 27, 2014 -- Gordon is suspended for one game by the Browns because he violated team rules.

February. February 3, 2015 -- Gordon has been suspended by the NFL. He is not eligible to return until the start of the 2016 season.

Dec. Dec. 20, 2018 -- Gordon announces that he will be focusing on his mental health and stepping down from football. The NFL suspends Gordon indefinitely after he violates its substance abuse policy.

Dec. 16, 2019 -- Gordon is suspended indefinitely for violating league policies on performance-enhancing substances and substances of abuse.

How old is Josh Gordon?

On April 13, Gordon turned 30. He will be playing in his seventh NFL season in 2021, regardless of his age, if he's reinstated by the league.

In 2013, the former All-Pro receiver put together one of the best receiving performances in the league -- his second year in that league. He was 23 years old when he caught 87 passes, for a league-leading 1,646 yard and nine touchdowns. Gordon hasn’t been able recreate that dominating season since. He played only five games in 2014, and missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Since 2013, he has played less than six games per season. He did so once in 2018 when he played for New England, and then again in 2019 when he played six for New England and five each for Seattle.

Which team is Josh Gordon on

Gordon will become a free agent if he is reinstated. He was released from his contract by the Seahawks in March 2021, which was the last time he played. He also played for New England (2018-19), Cleveland (2012-14, 2017-18) and Seattle (2019).

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