Josh Gordon’s return to football is officially under way.
The Cleveland Browns have activated Gordon off of the non-football injury list, meaning Gordon could make his return to the practice field on Monday. The dynamic and embattled receiver was reinstated on a conditional basis in July and will serve a four-game suspension to open the 2016 season.
Gordon hasn’t played since December 2014 and was suspended for the entire 2015 season for violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He was originally suspended for the entire 2014 season after committing his fourth violation of the substance abuse policy, but that suspension was eventually reduced to 10 games under a new drug policy agreement forged between the NFL and the NFL Players’ Association in September 2014.
Gordon is a playmaker when he’s on the field. He has caught 161 passes for 2,754 yards and 14 touchdowns in 35 career games. His breakout came during the 2013 season, when he had 87 receptions for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns.
Gordon and rookie Corey Coleman could develop into one of Cleveland’s best receiving tandems in recent memory if everything goes correctly. The Browns took Coleman in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Along with tight end Gary Barnridge, the Browns might possess some reputable weapons for quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Of course, this all hinges upon Gordon’s ability to overcome his substance abuse habits. If Gordon cleans up his act, the Browns might actually be fun to watch on offense for a change.