Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is taking a leave of absence from football and will enter an in-patient rehab facility, the Browns announced on Thursday.
Gordon was just one week away from being eligible to return from an alcohol-related suspension. He has been suspended multiple times for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and was reinstated to the NFL this off-season.
“After careful thought and deep consideration I’ve decided that I need to step away from pursuing my return to the Browns and my football career to enter an in-patient rehabilitation facility,” Gordon said in a statement. “This is the right decision for me and one that I hope will enable me to gain full control of my life and continue on a path to reach my full potential as a person. I appreciate the support of the NFL, NFLPA, the Browns, my teammates, my agent and the community through this extremely challenging process.”
The Browns offered their support in a statement.
“We support Josh in taking this step to seek additional help and treatment,” Browns vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said. “His singular focus must be on his own health. We want nothing more than for Josh to be successful personally and professionally and will not comment on his status with the organization at this time.”
Gordon led the NFL in receiving yards in 2013, and has appeared in just five games since, with two league suspensions and a one-game suspension from the Browns keeping him off the field. He appeared in two preseason games and participated in workouts, and would have been eligible to play as soon as Cleveland’s Oct. 9 game.
The Browns are 0–3 through the first three weeks of the season.