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(UPDATED) Browns: Gordon receives conditional reinstatement

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has given receiver Josh Gordon another chance.
The Browns will, too.
And Gordon is thankful and eager to put on a Browns uniform again.
“I’m blessed and grateful to be granted this opportunity,” he wrote Monday night in a long statement posted on Twitter. “I can’t wait to get back out there and play the game I love in front of the great fans of Cleveland.”
Goodell notified Gordon on Monday he has been reinstated on a conditional basis but must serve a four-game suspension to start the season. Gordon, 25, began an indefinite suspension Feb. 3, 2015, for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy and missed all of last season.
Gordon was scheduled to reapply for reinstatement Aug. 1, but Goodell summoned him to a meeting last Tuesday and fast-tracked the process. Gordon is permitted to join the Browns at training camp, which starts Thursday with a conditioning test.
According to the league’s stipulations, Gordon will be allowed to practice and play in preseason games once arrangements for counseling and rehab in Cleveland have been confirmed.
If Gordon meets the conditions of reinstatement and serves the four-game suspension, he’ll be eligible to return to the team Monday, Oct. 3. The Browns host the New England Patriots on Oct. 9, which is also expected to feature the return of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after a four-game suspension for “Deflategate.”
“With the league’s decision to afford Josh the opportunity to resume his career, he will be with us for the start of training camp,” Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said in a statement. “At that time, we will discuss directly with Josh the direction of our team, our expectations of our players and a plan to support him on and off the field.”
During the four-game suspension, Gordon can participate in meetings — unlike most suspended players — but not attend practices or games. The suspension will cost him $251,390 of his $1.1 million salary.
“The last few times Josh was suspended, he couldn’t be with (the) team, and that was counterproductive,” agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “This is a great change, the fact that he can stay with the team during the suspension. Commissioner Goodell believes the ability for Josh to work with the team during his suspension will help him. He went outside the norm in this case.”
League spokesman Brian McCarthy tweeted that the Browns and Jim Brown, the Hall of Famer and team adviser, have been “very supportive” of Gordon throughout the process. Brown has been in touch with Gordon over the last couple of months and recently told Gordon had been in rehab.
Goodell sent a letter to Gordon on Monday.
“As we discussed at our (July 19) meeting, as Commissioner, I want nothing more than to see you turn your circumstances around and succeed,” Goodell wrote. “Countless others including your agent, teammates and coaches, Mr. Haslam and the leadership of the organization, the Program professionals and Jim Brown also have pledged to provide you with every resource at their disposal.
“But as you acknowledged, ultimately, your future is your responsibility. I have every belief that you can make the right choices, but it will be up to you to do so.”
Gordon has been unable to make good decisions consistently throughout his football career. He was kicked off teams at Baylor and Utah for failing marijuana tests and has served three NFL suspensions in the last three seasons after failing at least four tests since being taken in the second round of the 2012 supplemental draft. He’s been suspended for 27 of the last 32 Browns games, and another violation of the drug policy would result in another indefinite suspension.
The Browns could waive Gordon or try to trade him, but with a new regime and coaching staff appear willing to give him another shot to prove he’s changed.
“I want to thank the NFLPA, Commissioner Goodell, the Haslam family and Browns organization, my agent Drew Rosenhaus, as well as my mentors for their continuous support along the way,” Gordon wrote. “I’ve heard only good things from my teammates about the positive direction the organization is heading and I want to do everything I can to be there to help further that process not only for the team but to better myself as well.”
His teammates welcomed him back.
“Let’s get right back 2 work @JOSH_GORDONXII!! Welcome back!!” cornerback and friend Joe Haden tweeted.
“Let’s get it big homie @JOSH_GORDONXII,” tweeted rookie receiver Corey Coleman, a fellow Baylor alum.
Gordon originally applied for reinstatement in January, but the league denied it April 12 after he reportedly failed another drug test.
The failed test was from a sample collected in early March, according to a Fox Sports report. It said the sample revealed marijuana and a diluting agent. The levels of marijuana were below the 35 nanograms per milliliter required for a positive test, but a diluted sample qualifies as a positive result.
If Gordon (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) returns after the suspension and remains on the roster, he should provide a huge jolt to a receiving corps that includes four rookie draft picks. He was an All-Pro in 2013 when he led the league with a franchise-record 1,646 receiving yards.
He would be reunited with friend and new quarterback Robert Griffin III, a teammate at Baylor.
Gordon didn’t sustain the historic production of 2013. He played only five games the following season due to a 10-game league suspension and a team suspension for the finale, totaling 24 catches for 303 yards and no touchdowns. He appeared disinterested, and his poor play hurt the Browns as they went 1-5 after his return to miss the playoffs.
Gordon had stayed off social media over the last couple of months but resurfaced over the weekend when troubled former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel used Snapchat to show videos of Gordon petting Manziel’s puppy and playing videogames. posted the videos Monday. Manziel and Gordon had spent significant time together in the spring as Manziel partied in California.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or [email protected] Like him on Facebook and follow him @scottpetrak on Twitter.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.


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