On This Page
Josh Gordon of the New England Patriots gets Warm Welcome back from his Team after being Reinstated
The wide receiver that is currently signed with the New England Patriots, Josh Gordon, has had a very checkered past. He has been suspended by the NFL several times for violating the league’s policy on drugs and illegal substances.
During his time on the field playing for either the Cleveland Browns or the New England Patriots, Gordon has been absolutely unbelievable, but his struggles with substance abuse has always been his downfall. Let’s take a look at the full timeline of his football playing days from childhood until present day.
Middle School and High School
Gordon began using drugs and alcohol back as early as middle school. He would self-medicate by using Xanax, marijuana, and codeine in middle school in order to deal with feelings of anxiety, social awkwardness, and social inadequacies. He was expelled from two different middle schools for theft as he was stealing electronics from other students. Throughout his time in middle school, he admits to using drugs all the time.
The wide receiver was granted a basketball scholarship to a prep high school in Houston, Texas named, Westbury Christian. He was kicked out of this school in 10th grade for marijuana violations. He then attended a public school in Houston named Lamar High. Although he was able to attend and graduate from this high school, he was always involved in extremely negative activities.
Gordon joined a gang in which he sold drugs, stole cars, carried and shot a gun, fought, scammed local businesses by passing off counterfeit currency, and overall using a whole lot of illegal substances and alcohol on a daily basis. He was constantly smoking marijuana, drinking vodka in class, drinking codeine syrup and soda, as well as taking Xanax, hydrocodone, and oxycodone during his high school days too. Gordon admitted to drinking before his football games in high school to determine if he could play drunk.
Although he was heavily recruited by many Division 1 collegiate programs, he chose to attend Baylor University because he was not permitted to leave the state of Texas due to his supervised probation resulting from a felony credit card theft at age 17. He passed his once a month drug tests in Houston by using diluted samples that were never showing up as failed tests.
During his sophomore year at Baylor, he and a teammate were arrested after falling asleep in a Taco Bell drive thru and officers found multiple sacks of weed in the car. He was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, the charges ended up getting dropped, but he was suspended for this violation by Baylor.
Gordon explained that he was dealing marijuana heavily while at Baylor in which he would profit over $10,000 per month. A coach at the University apparently assisted him in cheating drug screens through the use of detox. Gordon was indefinitely suspended prior to the start of his junior year at Baylor for undisclosed rules violations that he claimed were due to failing another drug test.
“I’ve been enabled most of my life honestly,” Gordon stated. “I’ve been enabled by coaches, teachers, professors — everybody pretty much gave me a second chance just because of my ability.”
University of Utah
Even though Gordon was suspended multiple times while at Baylor he was offered transfer opportunities from colleges such as UCLA, USC, Oregon, and Utah. He chose to transfer to Utah, but he did not make any changes to his out of control and volatile lifestyle. He started using cocaine and he said he was taking Adderall everyday as well. Before even playing one single snap of football at Utah Gordon failed another drug screen. He moved back to Houston, sold drugs, and opted for the 2012 NFL supplemental draft.
The Cleveland Browns
The Browns selected the troubled wide receiver, Gordon, in the 2012 NFL draft. He played all 16 regular season games in his rookie year, but that would be the first and last time Gordon would make it through a full NFL season. In 2012 he pulled in 50 receptions for 805 yards and 5 touchdowns. His pregame ritual was taking bong hits and drinking liquor, and he would often miss meetings, show up late, and was noticed having bloodshot eyes.
Before the beginning of the 2013 NFL regular season, Gordon received a 2-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. After sitting out the first 2 games that year he went on an unbelievable tear over the remining 14 games. He led the NFL in receiving yards with 1,646 yards on 87 catches and 9 touchdowns. He earned First Team All Pro honors and he was selected to the Pro Bowl as well.
2014 – 2015
Gordon was arrested for a DWI in North Carolina before the 2014 season, and the NFL decided to originally suspend him for the entire 2014 season after another failed drug test on top of the arrest. They later decreased the suspension to 10 games in order to comply with the new regulations of the league’s substance abuse policy. Gordon was eventually suspended for the last game of the year in 2014 for missing a team function. Before the start of the 2015 season, he once again violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy earning him a suspension for the entirety of the 2015 NFL season.
He initially applied for reinstatement, but the request was denied by the NFL after he failed yet another drug screen. He was reinstated in July of 2016, but his suspension ended up being for the first four games of the regular season. As he was projected to start in the week 5 game Gordon decided he needed help and enrolled in a rehab facility in the state of New Hampshire. He did not play a single snap with Cleveland for the entire 2015 and 2016 NFL season.
In 2017, Gordon first applied for reinstatement to play football again in May and the NFL denied that request. He reapplied in the fall of that year and he was allowed to be reinstated under a conditional eligibility and ended up playing only five games in 2017.
Gordon played only 1 game for the Browns in 2018 before they formally announced that they were parting ways with the troubled receiver for violating the teams trust. The New England Patriots traded for him early on in the 2018 season. On December 20th, 2018 Gordon said that he was stepping away from the game of football to focus on his mental health, but later on it was revealed he failed another drug test. The NFL banned him from the league indefinitely at this point.
Just recently, he was reinstated by the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell. He will be able to participate in practices but not pre-season games for now. He should be ready to play for the Patriots by week 1 of the 2019 – 2020 NFL season. New England has reportedly welcomed him back to the team with open arms.
"We are all rooting for Josh to succeed, both personally and professionally," says Goodell. "Everyone shares in that hope and will continue to support him to every extent possible. But as Josh acknowledged, ultimately his success is up to him."
"For the past eight months, Josh's situation has been entirely a league matter," New England’s head coach, Bill Belichick, stated. "When Josh returns to our program, we will evaluate the entire situation and do what we feel is best for Josh and the team."
"We're going to do everything we can to support him," says teammate, Matthew Slater. "I think all we can do is take things day by day, as is the case with any of us. And we'll see how it goes."
"Obviously we're excited because we're pulling for him. We love him," explained Patriot’s safety, Duron Harmon. "We always want the best for him, more than anything. He's a part of this team, a brother of ours. We're looking forward to seeing him on Sunday."
"We're more concerned with him as a person," added Slater. "Football is great and all, but nobody plays football forever. Life goes on well past the game of football, and we want to see him be successful in his individual life, and hopefully we can do our part in supporting him along the way."
“Pats' Gordon reinstated; eligible for reg. season”, espn.com, August 16, 2019.
"Pats players 'pulling for' reinstated WR Gordon”, Mike Reiss, espn.com, August 17, 2019.
“A timeline of Josh Gordon’s history with substance abuse and suspensions”, Nicole Yang, boston.com, December 20, 2018.
“Josh Gordon”, pro-football-reference.com, August 20, 2019.
Written by: David Green