An ESPN report Tuesday stated that veteran receiver Josh Gordon has successfully completed an “NFL-monitored treatment program” and that the league’s players union “has recommended to the NFL that he be reinstated.”
ESPN further reported that Gordon is awaiting final approval from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to return but that “he is said to be ready to play and vaccinated.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, it was unclear when Gordon might receive that approval.
But once he receives it, Gordon will be free to sign with any team. And assuming he is eventually cleared to play, speculation will inevitably focus on the Seahawks as a team potentially interested in signing him.
The Seahawks claimed Gordon off waivers midway through the 2019 season, and he played five games for Seattle before being suspended for violating league policies on both performance-enhancing drugs and substances of abuse.
Seattle then re-signed Gordon late in training camp before the 2020 season. But at that time, Gordon remained on the suspended list.
Gordon was conditionally reinstated on Dec. 3, and the Seahawks promoted him to the active roster three weeks later before a game against the Rams.
But it was then revealed that Gordon had a setback in his recovery and would be ineligible to play.
Gordon did not play in 2020 and after the season, he was suspended indefinitely. After his one-year contract lapsed, he became a free agent in March.
Gordon had been suspended by either a team or the league eight times before last season, derailing a career that began promisingly when Gordon was an All-Pro in 2013 with Cleveland, catching 87 passes for 1,646 yards.
Gordon played just five games the following year then missed all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He has played just 28 games since 2014.
It’s unclear if Seattle would be interested in reuniting with Gordon, who caught seven passes for 139 yards in five games in 2019, the last NFL action he has seen (Gordon played briefly last spring in the Fan Controlled Football league).
Coach Pete Carroll spoke optimistically of Gordon’s return last December saying the team was “thrilled” to get him back.
A few weeks later, when Gordon was again declared ineligible, Carroll said the team was “certainly disappointed not to have him for his sake and for a lot of things.”
That the Seahawks have had Gordon on the roster each of the last two seasons only to see him again be suspended might make the team more reluctant about a reunion.
But Gordon is also just 30 years old, and assuming he is reinstated, some team is likely to be interested.
Seattle has five receivers on its 53-man roster — Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Freddie Swain, Dee Eskridge and Penny Hart.
But Eskridge, the team’s first pick in the 2021 draft in the second round, and Hart suffered concussions in Sunday’s 28-16 win over the Colts, and it remains unclear if they will be ready for Sunday’s home opener against the Tennessee Titans.
“It’s going to take a couple days to get it done,” Carroll said. “They’re not the same. It’s individual cases. There’s a time-frame sequence they have to follow through to make it back. Nothing to make a prediction about right now other than we’ll see what happens all the way up to Wednesday. That’s when it starts back towards their return.”
The Seahawks also have three receivers on their practice squad — former Husky Aaron Fuller, rookie Cade Johnson and Cody Thompson.
Seattle could promote one or two from the practice squad to the active roster in time for Sunday’s game, and then they could revert to the practice squad afterward.
Players can be promoted to the active roster twice each year and then revert to the practice squad without going through waivers.