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NFL notes: Browns’ Josh Gordon has been reinstated, could play in final 5 games

Josh Gordon
Browns receiver Josh Gordon could be eligible to play the last 5 games of the season.
(David Richard / Associated Press)

Josh Gordon’s personal journey, from star to suspension to sobriety, has reached a new dawning. The NFL is giving him yet another chance to resurrect his football career and life.

Cleveland’s gifted wide receiver has been conditionally reinstated by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who met with the Browns former Pro Bowler on Wednesday in New York and is allowing him to return after a nearly three-year absence.

Gordon, who hasn’t played since the 2014 season, can immediately join the team for meetings, engage in conditioning work and individual workouts. He has to comply with requirements set forth by Goodell and can begin practicing with the team on Nov. 20.

The 26-year-old will be eligible — at the team’s discretion — to return to active status on Nov. 27 or remain on the commissioner’s exempt list for an additional week before returning to active status.

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“As emphasized at today’s meeting, everyone — including Josh’s teammates and coaches, the Browns’ ownership and organization, the program professionals and all of us at the league office — want him to have every opportunity to resume his career and to be successful in the NFL,” Goodell said.

“Whether that happens, however, at the end of the day will depend on Josh. His commitment to sobriety and to reaching his goals in football and beyond will determine his success. It ultimately is up to Josh.”

If he abides by Goodell’s stipulations, Gordon could play in Cleveland’s final five games this season.

Gordon has been in and out of rehab over the past year, and there are many fans who feel he has been given more breaks than he deserved. He had been suspended indefinitely since 2016 for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.

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The Browns have remained supportive of Gordon through his challenges.

“We’ve been informed of the league’s decision to reinstate Josh,” said Sashi Brown, the team’s executive vice president of football operations. “The personal well-being of all our players is of the utmost importance to us.

“We respect and commend Josh for taking the steps necessary to have the opportunity to return to the league. Josh will be in our building in the coming days and we look forward to having him back and sitting with him to discuss his future on our team.”

Gordon has missed Cleveland’s past 41 games and hasn’t played in the regular season since Dec. 21, 2014, following numerous violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.

The Browns, who have started 0-8 this season and are 1-15 in two seasons under coach Hue Jackson, have control of his contract for two more seasons.

Etc.

Brock Osweiler has supplanted Trevor Siemian as the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback. The Broncos (3-4) visit NFL-leading Philadelphia (7-1) on Sunday. Siemian has two TD passes and eight interceptions over the Broncos’ 1-4 slump, including three ugly interceptions in a 29-19 loss at Kansas City on Monday night that wasted a strong defensive effort. Osweiler, Peyton Manning’s longtime backup, was expected to take over the Broncos QB job last year following Manning’s retirement a month after Denver’s Super Bowl 50 win. Instead, Osweiler bolted to Houston in free agency for $37 million in guarantees and Siemian won the Broncos job instead. …

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New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine has cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol and will be available to play against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night. Skrine sat out last Sunday against Atlanta after being injured at Miami the previous week. Morris Claiborne, the Jets’ other starting cornerback, is questionable because of a foot injury. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder, foot) is questionable, but has played through his injuries. Starting right tackle Brandon Shell (neck) and backup safety Terrence Brooks (hamstring) are doubtful. Fullback Lawrence Thomas (concussion) has been ruled out. …

The New England Patriots have signed former 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer to be Tom Brady’s backup. The deal was announced on Wednesday, a day after Hoyer was released by San Francisco following its acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade with New England. Hoyer began his career as Brady’s backup in New England in 2009, and has spent time with seven NFL teams during his nine-year career. … Detroit Lions offensive tackle Taylor Decker has taken a step back in his comeback from a shoulder injury. Decker returned to practice Wednesday and was taken off the physically unable to perform list. He hurt his right shoulder during an offseason workout with the team and had surgery in June.

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