Josh Gordon Stepping Away from NFL to Focus on Mental Health, Thanks Patriots

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2018

New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon (10) runs a play during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Don Wright/Associated Press

New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon announced Thursday that he is "stepping away from the football field" to focus on his mental health.

Gordon revealed the news in the following statement on Twitter:



In the statement, Gordon thanked Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, owner Robert Kraft and the Patriots organization for supporting him.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Gordon would be placed on the reserve/commissioner suspended list indefinitely for violating the terms of his reinstatement in the substance abuse program. Schefter added: "Final punishment yet to be decided, but Gordon not expected to play again this season or maybe ever again."

New England acquired the 27-year-old Gordon in a trade with the Cleveland Browns in September. The Pats sent a 2019 fifth-round pick to Cleveland as part of the deal.

In 11 games with the Pats this season, Gordon caught 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns. He also made one grab for 17 yards and a touchdown in his only game with the Browns this season.

Gordon did not play at all in 2015 or 2016 due to multiple violations of the NFL substance abuse policy, but he did return to the Browns to appear in five games last season.

The 2013 Pro Bowler has officially been suspended on four different occasions for substance abuse issues, including a 10-game ban in 2014 and a 16-game suspension in 2015.

Gordon missed the start of training camp this season to receive counseling and treatment.

The former Utah and Baylor standout is among the NFL's most talented and productive wideouts. In 2013, Gordon led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards, scored nine touchdowns and was named a first-team All-Pro.

Gordon's departure comes at a trying time for the Patriots, who have lost two games in a row and are third in the AFC at 9-5. If the season ended today, New England would not have a first-round playoff bye for the first time since the 2009 campaign.

Without Gordon, quarterback Tom Brady figures to focus primarily on slot receiver Julian Edelman, tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back James White in the passing game. Receivers Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson also figure to have a bigger role down the stretch.