Patriots' Josh Gordon suspended while he steps away from football to focus on mental health

The New England Patriots will be playing without Josh Gordon for a while. Gordon announced on Thursday morning that he has decided to step away from the team in order to focus on his mental health. 

"I take my mental health very seriously at this point to ensure I remain able to perform at the highest level," Gordon wrote. "I have recently felt like I could have a better grasp on things mentally. With that said, I will be stepping away from the football field for a bit to focus on my mental health. I would like to thank Coach Belichick, Mr. Kraft, as well as countless others within the Patriots organization for their continued support. I want to thank my fans for their support as well as I continue down the path getting back to 100%."

It marks the second time during the 2018 season that Gordon has announced an intention to take time away for mental health reasons. He did the same thing while in training camp with the Browns, though he ultimately returned to the team soon after. 

Gordon was traded to the Patriots earlier this season in exchange for a late-round draft pick. In 11 games with the team, he has caught 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns, emerging as a valuable downfield threat for Tom Brady while also apparently becoming a "reliable" player and person, according to teammate Rob Gronkowski

If and when Gordon feels he is mentally able to return to the field, he'll have to apply for reinstatement rather than just being able to return right away. According to a report from ESPN.com's Adam Schefter, Gordon has been indefinitely suspended for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the NFL's substance abuse policy. 

Gordon has obviously been very open about his struggles with addiction, including the fact that he used to play games and practice while high and/or drunk while he was in Cleveland. He was suspended for violating the substance abuse policy on several occasions, and also by the Browns themselves for violating team rules. He applied for and was granted a conditional reinstatement late last year. With his now having violated the terms of that reinstatement, it would seemingly make his re-entry back into the league somewhat more unlikely. 

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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