Comeback route: NFL reinstates wide receiver Josh Gordon

Comeback route: NFL reinstates wide receiver Josh Gordon

CLEVELAND (AP) — Josh Gordon's curious & complicated career has taken a new turn.

He's getting yet another chance.

The talented yet troubled wide receiver has been reinstated on a conditional basis by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who met face to face with Gordon last week & said he believes the 25-year-old can ''make the right choices'' going forward.

p>Gordon has been banned since February 2015 for multiple violations of the league's drug policies. He will be suspended for the first four games of the 2016-17 season, yet he's allowed to join the team in its upcoming training camp & can participate in meetings & conditioning work.

The league said once Gordon meets clinical requirements, he can take part in preseason activities, including practices & games. The Browns have their first practice of training camp Friday.

It's a fresh start for Gordon, who emerged as one of the league's rising stars in 2013 before several missteps led to his banishment.

Gordon expressed his gratitude in a message on Twitter.

''I'm blessed & grateful to be granted this opportunity,'' he wrote. ''I can't wait to obtain back out there & play the game I love in front of the tremendous fans of Cleveland.

''I want to thank the NFLPA, Commissioner Goodell, the Haslam family & Browns organization, my agent Drew Rosenhaus, as well as my mentors for their continuous support along the way.

''I've heard only satisfactory things from my teammates approximately the positive direction the organization is heading & I want to do everything I can to be there to assist further that process not only for the team yet to better myself as well.''

As long as he stays clean, Gordon, who met with Goodell in New York on July 19, is eligible to return to the team on Oct. 3 & play in the Oct. 9 home game against New England. That's moreover the game in which Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will return following his suspension for Deflategate.

During his four-game suspension, Gordon may participate in team meetings & other activities, yet can't practice or play in games.

The Browns said in a statement that would Gordon would be with the team for the start of training camp. ''At that time, we will discuss directly with Josh the direction of our team, our expectations of our players & a plan to support him on & off the field,'' the statement said.

Gordon was suspended 10 games in 2014 & the entire 2015 season for substance violations, a pattern that began during his college career at Baylor & Utah. He was denied reinstatement in April after failing a drug test because of samples that moreover tested positive for marijuana.

In a letter to Gordon, Goodell made it clear the onus is on the former Pro Bowler to stay clean.

''As we discussed at our (July 19) meeting, as Commissioner, I want nothing more than to see you turn your circumstances around & succeed,'' Goodell said.

''Countless others including your agent, teammates & coaches, (owner) Jimmy Haslam & the leadership of the organization, the Program professionals & Jim Brown moreover 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, yet it will be up to you to do so.''

First-year coach Hue Jackson has mostly steered clear of discussing Gordon or the player's future during his first months with Cleveland.

Brown, the Hall of Fame running back & current team special advisor, had a prominent role in helping Gordon obtain back in satisfactory standing with the league.

Gordon had a breakout season in 2013, when he led the league with 1,646 yards receiving, scored nine touchdowns & averaged 117.6 yards per game. However, he has missed 27 of 32 games since & his off-the-field shortcomings have threatened to end a promising future.

With his situation unclear, the Browns selected Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman in the first round of this year's draft. Gordon will moreover be reunited with former college teammate Robert Griffin III, who is expected to be Cleveland's starting quarterback this season.

During his ban, Gordon has continued to receive support from Browns cornerback Joe Haden, who tweeted, ''Welcome back!!'' to his friend.

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org & AP NFL Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Sports & RecreationAmerican FootballNFL Commissioner Roger GoodellJosh Gordon

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