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Patriots' Josh Gordon suspended indefinitely by NFL

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New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon was suspended indefinitely by the NFL on Thursday for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the league's substance abuse policy.

The suspension announcement came a short time after Gordon revealed he was stepping away from football 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 in a statement. "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 (Bill) Belichick, (Patriots owner) Mr. (Robert) Kraft, as well as countless others with the Patriots organization for their continued support. I want to thank my fans for their support as well as I continue down the path to getting back to 100 percent."

The Patriots issued the following statement on Gordon's suspension:

"We support Josh Gordon in his continued efforts to focus on his health. His attempt to do so is a private and personal matter, which we intend to respect."

Gordon has a long history of mental health and substance abuse issues. The star receiver missed two full seasons while being suspended and participated in just 11 games for the Cleveland Browns from 2014 to 2018. He was conditionally reinstated by the NFL in November 2017, appearing in five games with the team last season.

Gordon missed Browns training camp and the preseason while he received help to deal with undisclosed health issues. Cleveland then traded Gordon to the Patriots after he suffered a hamstring injury during a photo shoot.

"It's an unfortunate situation," Belichick said during his Friday news conference. "I hope he is able to deal with it successfully."

Gordon is potentially facing a long road back that could endanger the 27-year-old's NFL career. If he never plays another NFL down, Gordon's story will be remembered as an all-time coulda, woulda, shoulda player.

For the Patriots, they'll move forward with Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson and Phillip Dorsett at receiver. With Rob Gronkowski struggling, losing Gordon's field-stretching ability is a massive blow for New England heading into January. In 11 games this season, Gordon compiled 40 catches for 720 yards with three touchdowns.

Gordon is the second player in less than a week to be suspended for reinstatement terms stemming from a previous suspension. Oakland Raiders wideout Martavis Bryant was suspended indefinitely Dec. 14 for violating the terms of his reinstatement from April 2017.

Gordon's situation will affect a playoff-bound Patriots team, but more importantly, we hope Gordon gets the help needed to one day find peace in his life, even if that future doesn't involve football.

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