Tony Dejak/Associated Press
Gordon posted this statement on Twitter:
“To my Cleveland Browns and NFL family, I am reaching out to you all personally and letting you know that I am not only doing great physically but mentally as well.
“You will notice that I will not be in Cleveland for the start of training camp. Rest assured this too is a part of my overall health and treatment plan. I appreciate the awesome support I have received from teammates, friends, fans, and the Brown’s organization. Just like you, I am excited to start the season and I have every intention of being ready and available to join my teammates soon to help bring winning football to our fans.
“With the help of the NFL, NFLPA, and the Browns’ organization, I have been able to utilize the resources available to me that will ensure my well-being on and off the field. By continuing to follow the plan set up by our medical director and his team and taking this time before this season starts, we believe it will help me maintain the progress I’ve made for not only today but for many years to come.”
Gordon, 27, has played in just 10 NFL games over the last four seasons in large part due to repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.
The Browns have placed Gordon on the non-football illness list while he receives treatment.
“We will continue to support Josh as he receives the care needed to maintain his progress,” general manager John Dorsey said. “We are going to respect his privacy while he is away from the team.”
Tom Pelissero of NFL Network confirmed Gordon has not been suspended or failed a drug test. He is in Stage 3 of the league’s drug program, having been previously indefinitely suspended, and is subject to up to 10 drug tests per month. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the move is “proactive” and Gordon has “worked his ass off” to stay sober.
Gordon has dealt with substance abuse issues since entering the league via the supplemental draft in 2012. He led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards in 2013 while setting a number of records along the way.
Considered arguably the NFL’s best receiver after that campaign, Gordon’s off-field issues prevented him from reaching his potential. He was limited to five games in 2014 due to suspensions, missed both the 2015 and 2016 seasons and returned for five games in 2017.
“No timetable. We’ll address the matter at the appropriate time,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told Pelissero.
It’s unclear when Gordon plans to return to the team.