NFL

Josh Gordon, reinstated again by NFL, indicates he is signing with the Chiefs

"Time to get to work," Josh Gordon tweeted.

Josh Gordon was suspended for a year in December 2019 for again violating the NFL's policies on substance abuse. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images


Oft-suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon appeared to confirm reports Monday that he is heading to the Kansas City Chiefs. Gordon, 30, was listed by the NFL that same day as having been reinstated from his latest indefinite ban, which was imposed by the league in January.

“Time to get to work,” Gordon tweeted. He added the Chiefs’ Twitter handle, along with the direct-hit and praying emoji. The team has yet to publicly confirm it is adding him, which was reported by multiple outlets citing sources.

According to NFL Network, Kansas City intends to start off Gordon on its practice squad and promote him when he is deemed ready for game action.

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At the time of Gordon’s tweet, his avatar showed him still in the uniform of the Seattle Seahawks, the team with which he last appeared in the NFL in 2019. Gordon played 11 games that season, including six with the New England Patriots before they released him, but he was suspended for a year in December 2019 for again, per the NFL, violating its policies on substance abuse.

Gordon returned to the Seahawks in December 2020 but was not able to get on the field that late in the season. He then had his conditional reinstatement reportedly revoked the following month and was placed back on the league’s exempt list until his status changed Monday.

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With the Patriots in 2018 – after he was traded away from the Cleveland Browns and before he was suspended in December of that year, for the fifth time since he entered the NFL in 2012 – Gordon offered reminders of what all the fuss was about. He posted a gaudy average of 18.0 yards on 40 receptions, with three touchdowns.

However, to recall a time when Gordon was a major difference-maker one must go all the way back to 2013, a span far longer than the average length of an NFL career. With the Browns that season, his second in the NFL, Gordon erupted for a league-leading 1,646 receiving yards, plus nine touchdowns, on 87 receptions in just 14 games. Of course, the reason he did not play in all 16 games was that he started that season on a two-week suspension.

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Thus it would be foolish for the Chiefs to have any confidence at all that Gordon will be available to them for any length of time. However, if he can somehow steer clear this time of running afoul of league rules and guidelines, and if he has some of his former speed and athleticism still packed into his 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame, Gordon could certainly be of use to Kansas City.

As usual, the Chiefs are riding Patrick Mahomes’s magical arm to top-eight placements in such major passing categories as yards, yards per attempt, touchdowns and rating. Since Mahomes arrived in 2017, though, Kansas City has been largely dependent on just two pass-catchers. While wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce have proved to be otherworldly talents, the attack would benefit from another player who can make opponents pay for not defending the whole field.

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During the 2019 season, in which Kansas City won the Super Bowl, Sammy Watkins had numerous moments as that third weapon, particularly in the playoffs. With Gordon, the Chiefs might hope they have again found a veteran wide receiver who hasn’t quite fulfilled the promise of his considerable talent but who can still play a valuable role in their scheme.

Even with all his baggage, Gordon had multiple teams interested in signing him, according to ESPN. Among them may have been the Seahawks, whose general manager, John Schneider, said Sunday that “when things are taken care of officially we’d like to get rolling with him.”

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That could suggest Gordon liked what he heard in the Chiefs’ pitch. Of course, any receiver would relish the prospect of catching balls from Mahomes.

The question is now what Kansas City can hope to get out of one of the most notoriously self-sabotaging figures in recent sports history. In terms of silver linings, at least it could be argued that Gordon has spared his body much of the brutalization it would have had to endure had he played in more than just 33 games over the past seven years.

In any event, Gordon’s likely first order of business, as reported, will be proving himself worthy of elevation from the Chiefs’ practice squad. Even for those observers who have had enough of this long-running saga, if he can get on the field at Arrowhead Stadium, it will be fascinating to see what Gordon can do in that offense.

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