Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.
Josh Gordon’s most recent application for reinstatement from indefinite suspension has been denied, according to an NFL source.
Gordon can apply again in the fall, per the source.
This was the second failed try by Gordon to regain his playing status since he was suspended indefinitely for violations of the league substance abuse program.
He received a conditional reinstatement last summer and was able to rejoin the team in training camp and play in the preseason. But he needed to serve a four-game suspension to start the regular season, and the day before it was due to expire Gordon admitted himself to a drug rehabilitation center.
Gordon last played for the Browns in the 15th game of the 2014 season. He was suspended for the 16th game that season for a team violation.
Gordon then was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for repeated violations of the league substance abuse policy. He missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons. This denial of his application for reinstatement means he will also miss time in the 2017 season.
At NFL owners meetings in March, Sashi Brown, head of Browns football operations, indicated the door was open for the talented wide receiver to rejoin the team if he straightened out his life.
“I think for us the decision on Josh -- assuming he would play at the level we started to see glimpses of last preseason and certainly in the league before -- would be a talent I think no team in the NFL would turn down if he got back in,” Brown said. “Our decision with Josh is just understanding where he is in this process and being able to have him.
“We’re not in position at wide receiver to turn down a guy like Josh if we feel he’s settled himself. Josh is going to have an opportunity to reapply to the NFL and at that time we’ll make a decision when we know what’s going on.
“So, we’re rooting for Josh to get himself to a place where he can rejoin the league, and in the meantime kind of straighten out any other things in his life that might be independent of that, or anything else. We’ll take it step by step.”
This league denial means the next step for the Browns is to stay in wait-and-see mode.