Josh Gordon ‘stepping away from football’ again to work on mental health

It’s been a topsy-turvy NFL career for Patriots WR Josh Gordon filled with promise but marked by suspension after suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. New England traded for Gordon earlier this season and he had, by all accounts, been a great teammate, and productive for the Pats from time-to-time. But his time with the Pats, and possibly in the NFL, may be over as reports surfaced that Gordon violated terms of his conditional reinstatement as per the NFL’s drug policy. Given that this is Gordon’s fifth violation, it could result in an indefinite suspension.

Gordon concurrently announced he was stepping away from football to deal with his mental health.

Josh Gordon statement

The Patriots also offered their support for Gordon in a statement. “We support Josh Gordon in his continued efforts to focus in his health. His attempt to do so is a private and personal matter, which we intend to respect.”

Whether the violation had to do his marijuana, alcohol or another substance has not been revealed. But Gordon struggles with addiction have been well documented at this point.

As Gordon prepared to return to the Browns last November (long before he was traded to the Pats), he gave SI’s Ben Baskin  a transparent look at his situation in a powerful piece that is again quite relevant. Gordon told Baskin that he had an epiphany while looking for drugs on the streets of Gainesville over the summer,

“If I was willing to go to any length to [get a fix],” Gordon remembers asking himself, “then at what point am I going to go to any length to get something positive for me?”

Gordon immediately went to therapy, working to get himself in a healthy mental place.

Now he is back in familiar territory, dealign with ramifications of his addiction, but at least he is seeking help. Football should be secondary to Gordon from this point forward. Hopefully Gordon will finally get the help he needs to thrive in this world and keep his addiction issues as minimized as possible.  Anyone with mental health or addiction issues should understand this is much bigger than football.