When can Josh Gordon return from suspension? Seahawks receiver conditionally reinstated by NFL

The NFL has conditionally reinstated Seahawks’ receiver Josh Gordon from suspension, again.

The league announced Thursday afternoon that Gordon will be allowed to return from suspension before the end of the 2020 NFL season. He was serving an indefinite suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy for the fifth time (his sixth suspension overall). Gordon’s return will be allowed to take place in the season’s final two weeks, which will coincide with Seattle trying to secure a playoff berth and NFC West championship.

Here’s what we know about Gordon’s latest return from suspension.

When can Josh Gordon return from suspension?

Gordon can make his return for the season’s final two games, meaning Weeks 16 and 17. The NFL’s official release clarifies why Gordon’s return can’t be sooner.

The receiver can being COVID-19 testing on Friday, Dec. 4. Assuming negative tests, Gordon can join Seattle on Dec. 9 to attend team meetings and individual meetings with the coaching staff. He may also partake in individual workouts and strength and conditioning at that time, but he can’t practice yet.  

On Monday, Dec. 21, following Seattle’s Week 15 game, Gordon will be permitted to participate in practice and join the Seahawks for their final two games. 

The Seahawks are scheduled to play divisional opponents in both of the regular season’s final two weeks. The Rams play at Seattle in Week 16 before the Seahawks play at the 49ers in Week 17. 

Will Josh Gordon help the Seahawks?

The Seahawks kept Gordon under contract despite his indefinite suspension, which suggests they think he can still help them if given the opportunity to return. Gordon was once one of the NFL’s most talented young receivers, which showed up in a league-leading 1,646 receiving yards for the Browns in 2013.

Since then, suspensions have kept Gordon from making such an impact again. He’s played off and on since 2013, moving from Cleveland to New England and then to Seattle in 2019. In five games with the Seahawks last season, Gordon recorded seven catches for 139 yards.

The Seahawks have an obvious top-two at receiver in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, and they likely feel OK about No. 3 receiver David Moore, too. But at 6-3 with good speed for his size, Gordon could still play a role if he proves he’s in football shape. A prolific quarterback like Russell Wilson can never have too many talented pass-catchers, especially with the postseason fast approaching. 

After Gordon’s indefinite suspension was announced in 2019, Wilson had this to say: “I’m just praying for him, rooting for him and he’ll overcome. He’s an overcomer, I really believe that. Hopefully he’ll get another chance to play with us because he was fun to play with.”

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