Whether Josh Gordon will again play in the NFL seems an even bigger question after his conditional reinstatement by the league was rescinded Friday.
According to the league’s official transaction wire, Gordon has again been placed on the suspended list indefinitely. He would have to be taken off the list to be eligible to play.
Gordon was on a one-year contract with the Seahawks this season and is an unrestricted free agent.
His suspension was lifted conditionally in December, and the Seahawks hoped he would return for the final two games of the regular season and then the playoffs.
But the week that Gordon was set to return to play against the Rams on Dec. 27 the league said he had not satisfied the terms of his conditional reinstatement. Though he could continue to attend meetings and work out, he could not practice or play, the league said.
NFL Media reported at the time that Gordon had experienced “a setback in his battle with substance abuse.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said then that he could not talk specifically about Gordon. Asked a few other times about Gordon later, Carroll said only that there was nothing new to report.
Gordon remained on Seattle’s roster through the end of the season on the commissioner’s exempt list — placed there Dec. 22 after the league said he had not fulfilled the requirements of his reinstatement — meaning he was on Seattle’s roster but did not count against any roster limits.
Like the rest of Seattle’s 24 pending unrestricted free agents, Gordon will officially become an unrestricted free agent March 17.
But each suspension for Gordon, 29, may make it that much less likely he returns.
Gordon was suspended in December 2019 by the league for violating policies on both PED use and substances of abuse, his eighth team or league suspension.
It was that suspension that the league conditionally lifted Dec. 3, stating Gordon would be eligible to play in two weeks — effectively giving him a 16-game suspension, equal to one full season.
But after the Seahawks activated him Dec. 21 to the active roster, the league announced he was going back on the commissioner’s exempt list.
Seattle claimed Gordon off waivers from the Patriots midway through the 2019 season. He emerged as the third receiver with seven receptions for 139 yards in five games before being suspended indefinitely after a game at Carolina on Dec. 15.
He became a free agent but was re-signed by Seattle on Sept. 3 and placed on the exempt list so he did not count against roster limits.
Via OvertheCap.com, Gordon made $132,500 in roster and signing bonuses this season but did not earn any of his salary while suspended, having signed for the veteran minimum salary of $910,000.
Gordon was an All-Pro with Cleveland in 2013 when he had 87 receptions for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns. But he was suspended for the next two seasons and has played just 33 games since 2013.
Receivers Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and Freddie Swain all remain under contract for next season. Seattle also has signed receivers John Ursua, Penny Hart, Aaron Fuller and Cody Thompson to futures deals (meaning they become part of the roster March 17).
David Moore and Phillip Dorsett are also free agents, but Carroll said this week he anticipates bringing back Dorsett, who missed the 2020 season because of foot surgery.