(WHDH/AP) — New England Patriots star wide receiver Josh Gordon says he is “stepping away” from football to get a “better grasp on things mentally” after violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement under the league’s substance abuse policy.
In a message posted to social media Thursday, the receiver said, “I take my mental health very seriously at this point to ensure I remain able to perform at the highest level. 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 Belichick, Mr. Kraft, as well as countless others within 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%.”
In a statement, the Patriots wrote, “We support Josh 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.”
The NFL later confirmed that Gordon has been returned to the reserve/commissioner suspended list indefinitely for violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement under the league’s substance abuse policy.
Gordon, who has struggled with his mental health for years, has been suspended numerous times by the NFL for drug violations since the Browns drafted him in 2012.
This season, Gordon has played a crucial role for the Patriots receiving corps, hauling in 40 catches for 720 yards and 3 touchdowns in 11 games. He joined the team via trade after playing in just one game for the Cleveland Browns.
The 12 games he played for the Pats is the most he’s played in one season since 2013, his second year in the league, when he played in 14 contests. Gordon missed the entirety of the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to substance abuse suspensions.
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