If Josh Gordon entered the NFL as a rookie in 2020, he would encounter a progressive approach to marijuana use. Because the suspended receiver is a veteran, though, he faces a different set of policies.
Under the league's new CBA, officially agreed upon Sunday, positive tests for marijuana — administered during a two-week stretch during training camp as opposed to its former four-month window — would not result in suspension. Instead, positive tests would prompt clinical treatment if a board of appointed medical professionals deems that step necessary.
Gordon, 28, has been suspended by the NFL five times and is currently banned from the league indefinitely. He would need to be reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell to play again, even though many of his prior violations were marijuana-related. And, if he were to be reinstated, old rules on marijuana use would still apply to him: Any violations of the new policy by a reinstated player can mean another indefinite suspension.
Gordon — in addition to using marijuana — has at times struggled to curtail his drinking. He even admitted to drinking before games at Baylor. He played six games for the Patriots and five for the Seahawks last season, making 27 catches for 426 yards and a touchdown.
He has been unable to stay on the field for most of his career: His last season with at least 14 games played was 2013. His explosiveness exhibited during that campaign (87 receptions for 1,646 yards) has kept up continued interest in his services, even as he has continued receiving punishment for his marijuana use.