The Pittsburgh Steelers are patiently awaiting word on the status of their suspended wide receiver, Martavis Bryant, who received an indefinite suspension early last year that required a period of roughly a year before he could apply for reinstatement.
They are not the only team within the division that is awaiting word in the pending status of one of their suspended wide receivers, as Cleveland Browns player and former first-team All-Pro Josh Gordon is reportedly applying for reinstatement as well.
Gordon has had a history equally troubling, if not more so, than Bryant’s. The former second-round draft pick in the supplemental draft served a suspension during the 2014 season before serving a suspension for the entirety of the 2015 season.
He applied for reinstatement last year, but the commissioner delayed reinstating him because he wanted to see more from the wide receiver. He was eventually reinstated and was preparing to return to the team—he even participated with the team during the preseason, catching passes of 44 and 43 yards, the latter for a touchdown, in his first game.
Part of his reinstatement did include the serving of an additional four-game suspension. While serving the suspension, Gordon chose to leave the team in order to seek help at an in-patient rehabilitation facility, hoping to get his life fully back on track.
Because he was still under suspension when he left the team, Gordon remains under indefinite suspension, which requires that he once again apply for reinstatement. He has only played in a total of 35 games of his career, missing only one game due to injury. He has been ineligible to play due to suspension for 44 of a possible 80 games since his rookie season in 2012, including the entirety of the past two seasons, 10 games in 2014, and the first two games of the 2013 season in which he was an All-Pro.
Gordon is a phenomenal talent on the football field, as he exhibited during his 87-reception, 1646-yard, nine-touchdown sophomore season, a feat that he achieved in 14 games while leading the league in receiving yardage.
He wasn’t quite the same when he did return in the latter stages of the 2014 season after serving a 10-game suspension, though that might not be entirely surprising. Regardless of whether or not he is reinstated yet again, however, it is not at all clear if the Browns are willing to tolerate him any longer.
When asked about Gordon in October, Head Coach Hue Jackson said that “we wish him well” but that “we need to close that chapter right now” and “we’re moving on”.
Cleveland drafted Corey Coleman in the first round in 2016 and are working on retaining Terrelle Pryor at the moment. They have more than enough firepower in the 2017 NFL Draft to continue to restock the wide receiver position as well. Of course, they need to find a quarterback they can live with to throw them all the football.