Gordon announced on his Twitter account on Saturday that he will rejoin the Browns after completing a health treatment program that has kept him away from the team since the start of training camp.
“Thank you for your love, support, and most importantly your patience as I took the time needed to ensure my overall mental and physical health,” Gordon wrote in a tweet. “More specifically, I would like to thank the NFL, NFLPA, the entire Cleveland Browns organization, the University of Florida, and my friend and business manager Michael Johnson Jr for playing such pivotal roles during this process.
“This has by no means been an easy road and I’m extremely grateful to have all of you in my life.”
Gordon announced on July 23 that he would not attend training camp while he focuses on personal issues that have nearly derailed his NFL career. He had been placed on the reserve/did not report list.
The 27-year-old Gordon has missed the majority of the last three seasons because of suspensions related to violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Saturday that Gordon remains subject to certain conditions of the league’s substance abuse program and has not been cleared to practice.
“Can attend meetings, do conditioning. Can go to practice but not participate. No timetable on next step,” said McCarthy, per the NFL Network.
Browns general manager Josh Dorsey welcomed the return of his start wideout, who has appeared in only 10 games over the past four seasons. In a statement released by the team on Saturday, Dorsey said Gordon will be eased back into team activities.
“First off, we are pleased for Josh,” Dorsey said. “His overall health and well-being is what is most important. We commend Josh for his hard work, commitment and focus on becoming the best version of himself. We are glad Josh has reached a point where he can return to our organization, be in our building and be around his teammates.
“As he assimilates back to our team, Josh will initially participate in meetings and conditioning and will gradually resume all football activities as deemed appropriate.”
Gordon has been working out in Gainesville, Fla., with Tim Shankle of Homegrown Worldwide. He spent 90 days last summer and fall in an inpatient rehab facility in Gainesville.
Taken by Cleveland with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Supplmental Draft in 2012, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Gordon had 50 receptions as a rookie before emerging as one of the league’s game-breaking receivers the following season.
Despite missing two games in 2014, Gordon reeled in 87 receptions for an NFL-best 1,646 receiving yards to go along with nine touchdowns.
Multiple suspensions for repeated violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy followed for Gordon, who did not play in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Gordon was cleared to return to the NFL and appeared in five games in December last season, finishing with 18 receptions for 335 yards and a touchdown in five games.
During offseason workouts, Gordon drew rave reviews from Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield and fellow wideout Jarvis Landry.
“I’ve never seen anybody like him, bar none. He’s definitely gifted,” said Mayfield, the top overall pick in this year’s draft.
Landry, who had 400 receptions in his four seasons with Miami before he was acquired by Cleveland, said no player in the league can compare to Gordon.
“No. He is in a league of his own,” marveled Landry.
Gordon wrote in his tweet that he knows he must take care of his personal life to avoid further transgressions.
“As I humbly return to being a member of this team with an opportunity to get back to playing this game I love, I realize in order for me to reach my full potential my primary focus must remain on my sobriety and mental well-being,” wrote Gordon. “Let’s get to work!”