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Josh Gordon reinstated, will be suspended four games

Josh Gordon is back.

The NFL announced Monday that the Cleveland Browns wide receiver has been reinstated on a conditional basis. Gordon will have to serve a four-game suspension before he can play again for the Browns, but he will be allowed to participate in training camp.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport first reported Gordon's conditional reinstatement.

The 25-year-old pass-catcher met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last Wednesday after failing yet another drug test in March. He was slated to apply for reinstatement on Aug. 1, but Goodell chose to speed up the process. Gordon was initially suspended in February 2015 for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

"As we discussed at our (July 19) meeting, as Commissioner, I want nothing more than to see you turn your circumstances around and succeed," Goodell stated in a letter to Gordon released by the NFL. "Countless others including your agent, teammates and coaches, Mr. Haslam and the leadership of the organization, the Program professionals and Jim Brown also have pledged to provide you with every resource at their disposal. But as you acknowledged, ultimately, your future is your responsibility. I have every belief that you can make the right choices, but it will be up to you to do so."

"With the league's decision to afford Josh the opportunity to resume his career, he will be with us for the start of training camp," Browns exec Sashi Brown said in a statement. "At that time, we will discuss directly with Josh the direction of our team, our expectations of our players and a plan to support him on and off the field."

The oft-banned Gordon hasn't played in a game since December 2014. Now slated to return in Week 5 against the Patriots -- in the same game that will see Tom Brady take the field following his four-game suspension -- Gordon looms as the presumptive starter across from rookie wideout Corey Coleman.

"I'm blessed and grateful to be granted this opportunity," Gordon said in a tweet Monday. "I can't wait to get back out there and play the game I love in front of the great fans of Cleveland. I want to thank the NFLPA, Commissioner Goodell, the Haslam family and Browns organization, my agent Drew Rosenhaus, as well as my mentors for their continuous support along the way.

"I've heard only good things from my teammates about the positive direction the organization is heading and I want to do everything I can to be there to help further that process not only for the team but to better myself as well. Thank you."

Assuming Coleman blooms and Gordon returns to form, this wideout group has promise for the first time in years. New coach Hue Jackson also has a special pass-catcher in young running back Duke Johnson, but nobody on the roster can match Gordon's unique physical gifts. It feels like a century ago, but he's just three years removed from leading the NFL in receiving yards despite playing just 14 games in 2013.

Browns fans might finally have some fun watching this team on offense if -- and it remains a big "if" -- Gordon can stay out of trouble and contribute to a passing game desperately in need of playmakers.

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