Josh Gordon Leaving Patriots to Focus on Mental Health
On Thursday, New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon wrote on Twitter that he will be stepping away from football in order to focus on his own mental health.
The tweet said, “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 additionally thanked Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and the team’s owner, Robert Kraft. The Patriots later released a statement of their own in which they said they support Gordon “in his continued efforts to focus on his health.”
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Gordon is facing a potentially lengthy suspension from the NFL after violating the terms of his reinstatement under the league’s drug policy. While no punishment has been formally decided as of yet, it is highly unlikely Gordon will play again this season. There is a chance Gordon never plays in the league again, unfortunately. Gordon has violated the league’s anti-marijuana rules in the past. Despite the fact that the drug has been recently legalized in a number of states, marijuana is still on the NFL’s banned substance list.
Gordon began the season with the Cleveland Browns before being traded to the Patriots in September. He missed training camp with the Browns in order to get help for mental health and anxiety problems. He eventually rejoined the Browns after missing 3 weeks and eventually played one game for Cleveland. The team then decided to ship him to New England in exchange for a 2019 fifth-round draft pick.
This will not be Gordon’s first violation, of course. The Baylor product has been sidelined for the majority of the last 4 seasons due to repeated violations of the NFL’s drug policy.
Gordon has been a dynamic playmaker when he’s on the field, but he has unfortunately struggled to stay out of trouble with the league. The 27-year-old has made 220 catches for 3,826 yards with 19 touchdowns in his career. In 11 games with the Patriots this season, Gordon caught 40 passes (on 68 targets) for 720 yards with 3 scores. He made it to the Pro Bowl in 2013 as a member of the Browns after leading the league with 1,646 receiving yards along with 9 touchdowns.
What’s Next for New England?
Gordon caught just 1 pass on 2 targets in Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had previously been promoted to the team’s No. 2 receiver spot behind Julian Edelman. With Gordon gone, New England will give more prominent roles to the likes of Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Matthew Slater and Cordarrelle Patterson. Edelman, James White and Rob Gronkowski all figure to see added work in the passing game, as well. Dorsett, who hasn’t caught a pass in 4 weeks, figures to be the one that will get the first crack as Gordon’s vacated role in the offense.
The Patriots dropped to 9-5 with the aforementioned loss to the Steelers. New England is facing the prospects of not having a first round bye in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The team currently owns the fourth-best record in the AFC, but they are in line for a No. 3 seed in the playoffs due to the fact that whichever team loses the AFC West (Kansas City or Los Angeles) will drop to the No. 5 seed as a Wild Card.
The Patriots, who have lost 2 straight, will host the lowly Buffalo Bills this week before taking on the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium in the regular season finale.
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