Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is applying for reinstatement, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Gordon has been suspended since 2014, and according to his business manager is working through a “strict protocol” to get himself back into the league. Michael Johnson had this to say about Gordon:
"Josh is living with me and is in the best place mentally that he has been in dating back years before entering the NFL. He has taken the proper steps to treat his issues and has followed a very strict protocol that the league and our team here has laid out for him. He's also in the best shape of his life and feels even better than he did when he had his breakout year in 2013. This will be a special year for Josh and we are all very proud of the way he has taken the necessary steps to turn his life around."
Gordon was briefly reinstated last summer, and would have returned to the field after a four-game suspension. However, he left the team shortly before the four game concluded, and checked himself into an inpatient rehab facility. He has remained suspended since.
Gordon remains under contract to the Cleveland Browns, but reports last year pointed to the team wanting to trade him. They still could trade him, but given his addiction issues, I don’t see how it would be anything more than a conditional late round pick. And it seems like a release is the more likely result.
Kyle Shanahan has brief experience with Gordon, having worked with him when he returned from his previous suspension in 2014. That naturally has people suggesting the 49ers take a look at him. I would be surprised if Gordon was reinstated at this point, but Roger Goodell’s arbitrary approach to indefinite suspensions means anything is possible. We should probably wait for him to actually get reinstated before seriously thinking about the possibility of the 49ers pursuing him.