BOSTON (CBS) — Josh Gordon is stepping away from football.
The Patriots’ receiver tweeted Thursday morning that he intends to take a break from football so that he can focus on his mental health.
“I take my mental health very seriously at this point to ensure I remain able to perform at the highest level. I have recently felt like I could have a better grasp on things mentally. With that said, I will be stepping away from the football field for a bit to focus on my mental health,” Gordon Tweeted. I would like to thank Coach Belichick, Mr. Kraft, as well as countless others within the Patriots organization for their continued support. I want to thank my fans for their support as well as I continue down the path getting back to 100%.”
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, however, said that the decision was not necessarily voluntary, noting that Gordon is facing yet another suspension. That suspension came down Thursday afternoon, as the NFL released the following statement:
Effective today, Josh Gordon has been returned to the Reserve/Commissioner Suspended list indefinitely for violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement under the Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
Gordon, 27, was acquired by the Patriots in September in exchange for a fifth-round pick. Originally selected in the supplemental draft in 2012 by the Cleveland Browns, Gordon led the entire NFL in receiving yards in his second season in 2013. He did that despite serving a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. But in 2014, he was suspended indefinitely for once gain violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and he was also arrested for a DWI. He played just five games in 2014, and after another suspension the following offseason, he remained out of football until the 2017 season.
The Patriots released a statement after news broke, giving their public support to Gordon.
In a 2017 interview with GQ, Gordon said that he had drugs or alcohol in his system for “every game. Probably every game of my career.”
In 11 games with the Patriots, Gordon caught 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns.
After his first game with the Patriots, Gordon vowed that he’d make the most of his chance in Foxboro.
“I have no doubt I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity. I’m more than blessed. I’m extremely grateful to be put in this scenario,” Gordon said back on Sept. 30. “I think the only thing right for me to do is take full advantage of it. I’m loving it, I’m enjoying it, the guys here are great, it’s a real home environment and I feel as comfortable as ever here. It’s awesome.”
After the Patriots’ victory over the Vikings on Dec. 2, Gordon praised the Patriots organization for creating a positive environment.
“It felt like home a long time ago,” he said after catching three passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. “The atmosphere is very welcoming. It took me a little bit to get acclimated to the area. Other than that, it’s been pretty smooth so far, and that’s due in part to the facility, the organization, just everybody helping me along the way.”
Despite playing in just 11 of the Patriots’ first 14 games of the season, Gordon was the Patriots’ leading receiver at the time of his departure from the team.