Josh Gordon announced he will not be with the Cleveland Browns when they open training camp Thursday, citing his “health and treatment plan” as part of his return from multiple substance-related suspensions.
League sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Gordon is seeking additional counseling before camp opens to deal with his mental health and anxiety. The wide receiver has said that he typically used alcohol or marijuana when he was anxious, something he cannot do without another violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Gordon has regularly been in touch with his counselors and was told to take the extra time in a proactive move, sources said.
The wide receiver has missed most of the past three seasons because of suspensions stemming from violations of the substance abuse policy. Gordon said Monday that he is “doing great” physically and mentally, emphasizing his treatment plan “will help me maintain the progress I’ve made for not only today but for many years to come.”
Gordon announced his plan in a series of tweets before providing his complete statement in a single tweet.
— Flash Gordon (@JOSH_GORDONXII) July 23, 2018
Shortly after Gordon’s tweets, the Browns announced that he will be placed on the non-football illness reserve list “until he is ready to return.”
“We will continue to support Josh as he receives the care needed to maintain his progress,” Browns general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. “We are going to respect his privacy while he is away from the team.”
A league source told ESPN that the Browns expect Gordon to return, as he vowed, but there is no exact timetable given the nature of the treatment. The Browns believe that Gordon is doing all he can to ensure there are no setbacks, according to the source.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy also said there is no timetable for Gordon’s return, saying in a statement that the league will “address the matter at an appropriate time.” McCarthy also noted that Gordon has not been suspended.
Gordon has missed 43 of the Browns’ past 48 games because of suspensions and has played in just 10 games since the 2014 season, including five when he returned late last season.
Gordon had said during organized team activities that he would stay in the Cleveland area to prepare for camp, but he left a few weeks ago as part of his treatment.