Josh Gordon has had plenty of opportunities to play wide receiver for the Browns, Patriots and now the Seahawks (again). Still suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy for the fifth time in his career (sixth suspension overall), he is running close to empty on his chances.
Gordon saw his roller-coaster time with Cleveland end after six on-and-off seasons when he was traded to New England in 2018. After the Pats cut him last year, the Seahawks picked him up on waivers. That experiment lasted about a month and a half before Gordon was suspended again.
Now Gordon is back with Seattle and hoping to be reinstated yet again by the NFL.
Here is a look at all the events dating back to 2010 — from his days at Baylor that started to derail him to his consistent relapses while in the NFL — that led to that point of no return in Cleveland, plus his latest issues in New England and now Seattle.
Josh Gordon timeline
Oct. 7, 2010 — Gordon, a sophomore at Baylor, is found asleep in the passenger’s seat of a car belonging to teammate Willie Jefferson, who also is found passed out, outside of a Taco Bell. Both Gordon and Jefferson are cited on misdemeanor drug posession charges after marijuana was found in the car. Jefferson is kicked off the team with his second such violation. (Charges were later dropped vs. Gordon.)
July 25, 2011 — Gordon is suspended indefinitely from the program by Baylor coach Art Briles for a violation of team rules. It is reported later that Gordon had failed a drug test, as it showed up positive for marijuana.
Aug. 25, 2011 — Gordon decides to transfer from Baylor to Utah. “We felt he deserved a second chance, and we gave him that,” Utes coach Kyle Whittingham says. Before missing the deadline, Gordon had thought sabout entering the NFL’s supplemental draft that summer. He wouldn’t play a down for Utah.
July 12, 2012 — Gordon gets into the NFL’s supplemental draft, the Browns use a second-round pick to select him.
July 16, 2012 — Gordon is signed to his first NFL contract, a four-year, $5.3 million deal with the Browns.
Sept. 5-Dec. 30, 2012 — Gordon plays in all 16 games for the Browns and starts 13 as an impressive rookie wideout. He posts 50 catches for 805 yards and 5 TDs.
June 7, 2013 — Gordon draws his first NFL suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. He is forced to miss the Browns’ first two games of the season.
Nov. 24-Dec. 1, 2013 — Gordon becomes the first NFL player to post consecutive 200-yard receiving games, ripping the Steelers for 237 and then racking up 261 more against the Jaguars.
Dec. 27, 2013 — Gordon gets named to the Pro Bowl on the strength of leading the league with 1,646 receiving yards. He also earns first-team All-Pro for this breakout season.
July 5, 2014 — Gordon is arrested for suspicion of driving while impaired in Raleigh, N.C. It was reported that Gordon was speeding and had a blood-alcochol content of .09, above the legal limit.
Aug. 27, 2014 — Gordon draws his second NFL suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, this time for one full year.
Sept. 19, 2014 — Gordon has his suspension reduced to 10 games under the NFL’s new policy.
Nov. 17, 2014 — Gordon is reinstated by the NFL. That week, in his first game, he burns the Falcons for eight catches and 120 receiving yards.
Dec. 27, 2014 — Gordon is suspended by the Browns for one game, their season finale against the Ravens, for a violation of team rules.
Jan. 25, 2015 — Gordon faces a second year-long NFL suspension after testing positive for alcohol use.
Feb. 3, 2015 — Gordon is suspended by the NFL for a year again without pay and isn’t eligible to return until the beginning of the 2016 season.
Jan. 20, 2016 — Gordon applies for NFL reinstatement.
April 12, 2016 — Gordon’s petition for reinstatement is denied because another failed drug test.
July 25, 2016 — Gordon is reinstated by the NFL under the condition he can participate in training camp but remains suspended for the first four games of the regular season.
Sept. 29, 2016 — Gordon decides to enter a rehab facility rather than try to return from his latest suspension. “This is the right decision for me and one that I hope will enable me to gain full control of my life and continue on a path to reach my full potential as a person,” Gordon said as part of his follow-up statement. “I appreciate the support of the NFL, NFLPA, the Browns, my teammates, my agent and the community through this extremely challenging process.”
Oct. 30, 2016 — Gordon is released from rehab after 30 days but remains on the NFL’s reserve/suspended by commissioner list.
March 1, 2017 — Gordon applies for NFL reinstatement again.
March 29, 2017 — Browns GM Sashi Brown declares the team hasn’t ruled out bringing back Gordon whenever he’s reinstated. “We’re not in position at wide receiver to turn down a guy like Josh if we feel he’s settled himself,” Brown said. “Josh is going to have an opportunity to reapply to the NFL and at that time we’ll make a decision when we know what’s going on.”
May 11, 2017 — Gordon’s latest petition for reinstatement is denied by the NFL.
Nov. 1, 2017 — Gordon is reinstated to the NFL on a conditional basis with a chance to return to play for the Browns in Week 13.
Nov. 30, 2017 — Gordon is officially activated off the Commissoner’s Exempt list and becomes eligible to play.
Dec. 3, 2017 — Gordon is targeted 11 times in his return against the Chargers. He catches 4 passes for 85 yards in a 19-10 loss.
Dec. 10, 2017 — Gordon scores his first TD in four seasons in the game against the Packers. He catches 3 passes for 69 yards in a 27-21 loss.
Dec. 31, 2017 — Gordon catches 4 passes for 115 yards against the Steelers. It’s his first 100-yard receiving game since ’14 against the Falcons.
March 13, 2018 — Gordon is signed to a one-year, $790,000 contract by the Browns.
Aug. 18, 2018 — Gordon, after taking some personal time, reports to Browns training camp after missing three weeks.
Aug. 24, 2018 — Gordon is cleared to participate in team walkthroughs.
Aug. 25, 2018 — Gordon is activated from the Browns’ reserve/non-football injury list.
Aug. 27, 2018 — Gordon, dealing with a hamstring injury, is declared ready to play but not start by coach Hue Jackson. Gordon is expected to be on a “pitch count” of snaps against the Steelers in Week 1.
Sept. 9, 2018 — Gordon plays 69 of 89 offensive snaps in Week 1 against the Steelers, turning his one catch into a 17-yard touchdown.
Sept. 11, 2018 — Gordon is listed as a starter for Week 2 at the Saints.
Sept. 15, 2018 — Gordon is ruled out for Week 2 in New Orleans with a hamstring injury despite not missing practice all week. Gordon reportedly injured himself in a non-team photo shoot and NFL Network also reported the Browns had trust issues related to his showing up late Saturday.
Sept. 15, 2018 — Gordon is in line to be traded or released by the Browns, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The Browns plan to move on from him because they are concerned about a relapse, per multiple reports.
Sept. 16, 2018 — Gordon is confirmed to be facing no further suspension discipline from the NFL, per a report from The Athletic’s Jay Glazer.
Sept. 17, 2018 — Gordon is traded to the Patriots in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick. The Browns fielded calls from eight to 10 teams interested in making a deal for the controversial wideout.
Sept. 30, 2018 — Gordon makes his debut for the Patriots. He catches two passes for 32 yards in New England’s 38-7 win over Miami. “I have no doubt I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity,” Gordon said after the win (via Boston.com). “I’m more than blessed, I’m extremely grateful to be put in this scenario. I think the only thing right for me to do is to take full advantage of it.”
Oct. 29, 2018 — The Patriots discipline Gordon for lateness , benching him for about one quarter in their Week 8 matchup with the Bills. New England’s decision stems from Gordon arriving late to Gillette Stadium on Sunday before the team left for Buffalo, according to The Athletic.
Dec. 20, 2018 — Gordon announces he is “stepping away from the football field for a bit to focus on (his) mental health.” Hours later, the NFL announces the Patriots receiver again was suspended indefinitely for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Although he isn’t around to help the Patriots win Super Bowl 53 over the Rams, his solid contributions to their regular-season receiving production with 40 catches, 720 yards and 3 TDs. He is rewarded with a ring.
March 12, 2019 – Gordon receives a second-round tender from the Patriots, ensuring they wanted to keep him upon reinstatement into the league.
March 28, 2019 — Gordon is a topic of conversation for commissioner Roger Goodell during his presser at the NFL spring meeting in Arizona, in which he admits league officials hope for Gordon to be allowed to return to action on the field soon.
August 26, 2019 — Gordon, after a long offseason of deliberation, is officially reinstated by the NFL. The Patriots learn he can be available to them starting in Week 1.
Sept. 8, 2019 — Gordon immediately delivers in his first game back for the Patriots, burning the Steelers for 3 catches, 73 yards and a TD in a 33-3 win.
Oct. 10, 2019 — Gordon suffers a knee injury against the Giants; it happens while he attempts to make a touchdown-saving tackle on New York linebacker Markus Golden after a Tom Brady interception.
Oct. 23, 2019 — Gordon lands on injured reserve with his knee injury.
Oct. 31, 2019 — Gordon is waived from IR to pursue opportunities with other teams. The Patriots, despite some issues at wide receiver even following a trade for Mohamed Sanu, gave no real reasoning for the decision to move on from Gordon.
Nov. 1, 2019 — Gordon is claimed off waivers late in the process by the Seahawks at the request of their quarterback, Russell Wilson. (Seattle was the No. 28 team in the waiver order.)
Nov. 4, 2019 — Gordon passes his physical with the Seahawks, putting him on track to make his Seattly debut in a big NFC West game at San Francisco.
Nov. 10, 2019 — Gordon is considered a game-time decision for the 49ers game after getting in his first full practice with the Seahawks on the Friday prior to the game.
Dec. 16, 2019 — Gordon is suspended indefinately without pay by the NFL for violating the NFL policies on performance-enhancing substances and substances of abuse. It’s his NFL sixth suspension since 2013.
June 18, 2020 — Gordon applies for reinstatement to the NFL. Goodell will oversee the wide receiver’s reinstatement and make the final decision.
Sept. 3, 2020 — The Seahawks re-sign Gordon while his reinstatement application is being considered by the NFL. The team is confident Gordon will be reinstated and gives him a one-year deal.
Dec. 3, 2020 — The NFL announces Gordon will be conditionally reinstated to play during the last two weeks of the 2020 regular season.
Dec. 21, 2020 — Gordon is added to the Seahawks’ active roster after the NFL rules him eligible to return from suspension.
Dec. 22, 2020 — The Seahawks get a roster exemption for Gordon, but the league announces he broke the terms of conditional reinstatement.
Jan. 15, 2021 — Gordon is once again suspended indefinitely by the NFL.
Feb. 27, 2021 — Gordon is signed by the Zappers of the Fan Controlled League.
Mar. 4, 2021 — The Seahawks release Gordon.
Sept. 28, 2021 — The NFL reinstates Gordon and the Chiefs sign him to their practice squad.
Oct. 5, 2021 — The Chiefs sign Gordon to their active roster.
Contributing: Tadd Haislop