Approaching the one-year anniversary of his indefinite suspension from the National Football League, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is hoping for a chance to return to the playing field in 2016. Gordon, according to Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland on Tuesday morning, has applied for reinstatement from his suspension, which was the result of multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Gordon was suspended by the NFL for 10 games in 2014 following a DWI arrest from the summer of 2014. Despite that transgression, Gordon again got in trouble with the league when he failed an alcohol test following the 2014 season, He soon had his third strike called against him when the NFL suspended him for a third substance abuse violation, netting him an indefinite suspension on February 3, 2015. By rule, Gordon was then eligible to apply for reinstatement from the indefinite suspension within 60 days of the anniversary of the suspension. The NFL now has 60 days to respond to the request.
Perhaps this will be the beginning of a revived career for Gordon. With Cleveland hiring Hue Jackson to be the new head coach of the Browns, and Jackson being considered a coach that can establish good, healthy relationships with players, the Gordon situation is just one more the new head coach will be tasked with smoothing over. Between Gordon and Johnny Manziel, Jackson has a lot on his plate just as he sits down for his first meal with the Browns. If the NFL does reinstate Gordon, he will enter a contract year with much to prove, both on and off the field. That can be a nice asset for Jackson as he looks to build something in Cleveland, the way so many before have tried.
“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, per Pro Football Talk. “That’s what we have to do with every player, whether that’s Josh Gordon to whoever the last guy is on the roster.”
It remains to be seen how much weight the hiring of Jackson will have on the NFL’s decision regarding Gordon. If Jackson’s reputation speaks volumes, then the NFL may be slightly more inclined to giving Gordon a chance to return to play with Jackson monitoring him as best he can. Whatever the decision is, here’s to hoping Gordon realizes that playing in the National Football League is a privilege not to be taken lightly. And who knows, maybe a new Gordon will rub off on others as well.