The NFL is conditionally reinstating the New England Patriots wide receiver following his indefinite suspension, the league announced.
"We are all rooting for Josh to succeed, both personally and professionally," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "Everyone shares in that hope and will continue to support him to every extent possible. But as Josh acknowledged, ultimately his success is up to him."
Gordon is allowed to return to New England's facility and engage in conditioning work and individual workouts on Sunday. Subject to appropriate progress on clinical care and other arrangements, Gordon will be permitted to participate in team activities including practice. The receiver may attend but not play in New England's third preseason game on Aug. 22.
"For the past eight months, Josh's situation has been entirely a league matter, coach Bill Belichick said in a statement. "When Josh returns to our program, we will evaluate the entire situation and do what we feel is best for Josh and the team."
The 28-year-old wideout was suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy in December after announcing he was stepping away from the game in focus on his mental health.
New England placed a one-year, $2.025 million RFA tender on Gordon in March, and the receiver signed it in April.
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.
Cleveland traded Gordon to New England in September where the WR racked up 720 receiving yards, 12 20-plus-yards receptions and three receiving TDs with the Patriots before his suspension.
With Gordon likely to rejoin New England's receiving corps, the offseason and training camp consternation over the Patriots' pass-catching prospects should lessen in the coming weeks.
Gordon, if healthy and able, should slide right into New England's starting lineup alongside Julian Edelman. Other receiving options like Phillip Dorsett, N'Keal Harry, Demaryius Thomas, Maurice Harris, Braxton Berrios and Jakobi Meyers, some of whom have impressed in Gordon's stead this summer, should take a step back from the spotlight if and when Gordon returns to the field.
The receiver is eligible to play in New England's final preseason game against the New York Giants. Starters rarely play in the final exhibition, but considering Gordon has not practiced or played since Week 15, maybe New England will give him some run.