Josh Gordon Steps Away From NFL For Mental Health Reasons, Could Face Indefinite Ban For Marijuana

The wide receiver may have played his last football game

Photo via Ashly Perez/Twitter

New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon announced on social media Thursday he’d be stepping away from football to “focus on [his] mental health.” Following a tumultuous football career, in which he faced multiple suspensions due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy after testing positive for marijuana, Gordon could’ve played his final football game, according to reports.

NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reported that Gordon could be facing an indefinite suspension from the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy once again. Under his reinstatement agreement, the violation could result in Gordon being banned for life from the NFL. ESPN’s Adam Schefter also reported that Gordon is “not expected to play again this season or maybe ever again.”

The New England Patriots wrote in a statement they “support Josh Gordon in his continued efforts to focus on his mental health.”

After an early breakthrough in his career as a premier NFL receiver, Gordon played just 10 games between 2014-17. He was suspended for the 2015 and 2016 football seasons after he tested positive for marijuana. Gordon had come clean about his marijuana usage recently, however, even admitting that he’d been high for every single NFL game and making $10,000 for selling weed in college.

Early reports indicate Gordon’s latest possible suspension is also due to marijuana.

Former Patriot Martellus Bennett estimated earlier this year that almost 89 percent of the league uses cannabis. As with other players who have become open about their cannabis use and advocacy following retirement, Bennett spoke with the candor of someone with nothing to lose.

Despite this, Mike James, a free agent running back, was denied a therapeutic-use exemption (TUE) request to use marijuana for pain management. Dr. Sue Sisley, James’ physician and a top cannabis researcher, said James was a perfect candidate for the TUE because of his family history of addiction to opioids. Since applying for the TUE, James has not been signed by any NFL team. Last month, Stigma, a cannabis health and wellness lifestyle brand, signed James to their team to help shift negative stereotypes lingering about cannabis users.

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