Over his first eleven games since being traded from Cleveland to the New England Patriots, Josh Gordon was terrific. He was on the field for 71.2% of the team’s offensive snaps, serving as the Patriots’ de facto third receiving weapon behind fellow wide receiver Julian Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski. In this role, he caught 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns. In late December, however, his season came to an abrupt end.
After violating the terms of his reinstatement under the NFL’s substance abuse policy, Gordon received an indefinite suspension and announced that he would step away from the game to focus on his recovery. While the Patriots kept rolling despite Gordon’s absence all the way to winning the Super Bowl, the wide receiver himself went on to fight a bigger battle than football could ever be. Along the way, news were scarce.
However, it now appears as if there is some movement when it comes to Gordon and his potential return to the Patriots. According to NFL reporter Howard Balzer of The Sports Xchange, the 28-year-old has applied for reinstatement from his suspension. While there is no timeline set when it comes to the process that has now reportedly been kicked off, seeing it started certainly is encouraging for both the Patriots and Gordon.
After all, if he indeed applied for reinstatement it would indicate that his recovery has gone well, and that he feels confident in his chances to return to the NFL. If he does return, it would be in New England: despite the suspension, the team tendered the restricted free agent this offseason. Gordon, who would add considerable talent to the team’s wide receiver group, also joined quarterback Tom Brady for a private workout in mid-June.
Both Brady and the Patriots apparently felt confident about Gordon’s long-term outlook. Today’s news about his reinstatement process getting started is the next step for him to get back onto the field — and more importantly it shows that he seems to be recovering well from his substance abuse issues.