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New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon announced on Thursday that he is “stepping away from the football field for a bit” to focus on his mental health.
Gordon’s announcement came on the heels of a looming indefinite suspension from the NFL for “violating terms of his reinstatement under the substance abuse policy,” according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
The Patriots acquired Gordon in a trade with the Cleveland Browns in September. They sent Cleveland a future fifth-round pick for the wide receiver. In 11 games with the Patriots, Gordon totaled 40 catches for 720 yards and three touchdowns.
The 27-year-old has had a long battle with substance abuse. He missed all of 2015 and 2016 due to suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Gordon admitted that he never played a game sober prior to 2017 and that he took shots before every game in college at Baylor and for the Browns from 2012-14, until he was banned from the league for two years.
Facing another indefinite ban, the highly-talented Gordon has likely played his last snap in the NFL.
Gordon led the league in receiving in 2013, when he was named an All-Pro. He appeared in 52 games for the Browns and Patriots combined, accumulating 220 receptions for 3,826 yards and 19 touchdowns.
With Gordon out of the picture, the Patriots will turn to Julian Edelman, Cordarrelle Patterson, Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett at wide receiver. Gordon’s ability to stretch the field will be sorely missed, especially with Rob Gronkowski struggling this season.