Josh Gordon’s full-season return to the NFL has the potential to be one of the best stories of the year. After a series of escalating suspensions for violating the league’s marijuana policy, Gordon was reinstated last November and returned to play in five games for the Browns, capped off with a four catch, 115-yard Week 17 performance.

Prior to that Gordon hadn’t played in an NFL game since the 2014 season, and it’s his conditional reinstatement likely means his activities are fairly well-regulated, and further suspension is always possible, so both Gordon and the Browns took pains to make clear that his absence was not part of a suspension or a relapse of any kind.

Here’s Gordon’s statement:

“I will not be in Cleveland for the start of training camp. Rest assured this too is a part of my overall health and treatment plan. I appreciate the awesome support I have received from teammates, friends, fans, and the Brown’s organization. Just like you, I am excited to start the season and I have every intention of being ready and available to join my teammates soon to help bring winning football to our fans.

With the help of the NFL, NFLPA, and the Browns’ organization, I have been able to utilize the resources available to me that will ensure my well-being on and off the field. By continuing to follow the plan set up by our medical director and his team and taking this time before this season starts, we believe it will help me maintain the progress I’ve made for not only today but for many years to come.

Thank you all for your patience, love, and support! Go Browns!”

The league hasn’t commented on this particular situation yet, except to say they will comment, which doesn’t sound great. Although Gordon is apparently not suspended again:

It’s dangerous to read too much into the situation, of course, without knowing more. Hopefully Gordon is still on track. The league is better with his talent on display every week, and Cleveland definitely needs him.

UPDATE:

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.