Josh Gordon may not be with the New England Patriots for Super Bowl LIII, but that doesn't mean the troubled wide receiver isn't being treated like part of the team.
The same day fellow Pats wideout Phillip Dorsett admitted it's "a little heartbreaking" that the suspended Gordon isn't around for this week's big game, NESN's Doug Kyed reports the Patriots are actually paying for Gordon's treatment at an inpatient facility.
Suspended indefinitely by the NFL in December for what Kyed said were "diluted drug test samples," Gordon's latest reported violation of the league's substance abuse policy, the former Pro Bowl receiver announced before his ban that he would be to focus on his mental health.
His absence, however, has not damaged his standing inside the Patriots organization, according to Kyed. Several notable players, from quarterback Tom Brady to wide receiver Julian Edelman, expressed support for Gordon over social media following the suspension, and now it's apparent that New England remains invested in the wideout's well-being.
"The team, the NFL and the NFL Players Association are working with Gordon to treat his drug addiction," Kyed wrote Tuesday. "The goal is for the receiver to function in life and football. A return to the Patriots still is possible. (And) if the Patriots win Super Bowl LIII, he would receive a ring."
Gordon's pre-suspension announcement marked the second time in 2018 that he intended to pause his NFL career to address mental-health concerns. Originally a supplemental draft pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2012, the former All-Pro flashed No. 1 potential early in his career, topping 1,600 receiving yards as a full-time starter in 2013. And his 11-game stint in New England was productive, with Gordon catching 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns from Brady. His suspension history dates back to college, however, and he missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons after failed drug tests.