Apparently, the Seahawks can’t count on Josh Gordon. Again.
A day after the NFL allowed him to return to the 53-man active roster ahead of the biggest game of the season Sunday against the Rams, the league stunned the club by disclosing that Gordon had not satisfied the terms of his conditional reinstatement, according to the Seattle Times Tuesday afternoon. Later, the league’s house organ, the NFL Network, reported that Gordon, 29, “had a setback in his battle with substance abuse and now won’t be allowed to practice or play indefinitely.”
The Seahawks relished the potential of the 6-3, 225-pound receiver teaming with the like-sized DK Metcalf to pit against the NFL’s top defense.
“We’re planning the week like he has a chance to contribute,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday. “We got to get him on the practice field and see what he looks like. He’s been working out really hard. I’ve been able to watch his workouts on video a couple times here. He seems that he’s in really good shape. We’re excited to see how he does.”
He looked that way a year ago too, in his first turn with the Seahawks, playing in five games with seven receptions for 139 yards after being claimed off waivers in November from New England. But on Dec. 16, the NFL’s testing protocol caught him using a street drug and a performance enhancer, and suspended the one-time All-Pro for the eighth time in his career, all for drugs, not misconduct.
News of his pending reinstatement came Dec. 3, which presumably meant he had stayed clean for the year since the suspension. The Seahawks signed the free agent in August for the veteran’s one-year minimum of $910,000 on the chance the he would be reinstated, then provide an offensive spark after another chance to play ball.
Gordon connected personally with QB Russell Wilson, and the two worked out together for a time in the off-season, and shared videos of their workouts on social media. The Seahawks kept tabs on Gordon, and were certain enough he was ready that they made roster room Monday by waiving WR Penny Hart, the fifth receiver this season. If he clears waivers, the Seahawks would likely bring Hart back.
That sort of chance seems unlikely now for Gordon, who can’t beat his demons no matter the support provided.
The league never gives specifics about what drugs were found, but players over the years have said privately that the tandem violation of a street drug and a PED is typically marijuana and Adderall. One is legal in Washington, and the other a controlled substance easily available by prescription. But the NFL has tighter rules about possession and usage. Gordon, as a member of the players union that agreed to the testing plan, is obliged to follow the rules.
When he returned to play last season, Gordon told reporters that the Seahawks were a good fit for him.
“It’s just the culture,” Gordon said. “It’s just different, something that I think has felt more like a fit, I guess. It’s hard to explain why I like it here.”
Just as it is hard to explain why Gordon can’t make it work.