An NFL spokesperson told ESPN that the decision stems from Gordon violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement under its substance-abuse policy. No other details were provided from the league.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported last month that Gordon, 29, had another setback in his recovery from substance abuse as he was nearing his return to the field after a year-long suspension. A source told Fowler at the time that Gordon was grappling with the reality that he might never be allowed to play in the NFL again as indications throughout the process of his reinstatement from his that suspension were that this was probably his final strike.
The league suspended Gordon indefinitely in December of 2019 for violations of its policies on substances of abuse and performance-enhancing substances. That was Gordon’s sixth suspension since the 2013 season and his fifth for some form of substance abuse, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Gordon was conditionally reinstated by the NFL last month and was set to practice with the Seahawks in Week 16. Coach Pete Carroll said he had a chance to play that Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams. But a day before what would have been Gordon’s first official practice in a year, the NFL placed him on the commissioner’s exempt list after deeming that he had not satisfied the terms of his conditional reinstatement.
Gordon’s tweet Friday — “wasn’t this old news” — suggests his indefinite return to the reserve/suspended by commissioner list stems from last month’s events.
Gordon was allowed back at Seahawks headquarters on Dec. 9 after completing his COVID-19 testing. He tweeted that day that he was “excited as hell to be back amongst the family like this.”
When Gordon’s comeback bid was halted, Carroll said he was not allowed to comment on any specifics of the receiver’s situation, including the nature of his setback.
“We’re not able to comment about any of it, really, other than to say that he’s still coming in, working out with our trainers, and getting his work done conditioning-wise,” Carroll said at the time. “We’ll revisit it again next week. Certainly disappointed not to have him for his sake and for a lot of things, but we’ll stay with it and we’ll see what happens next week.”
Asked how Gordon was handling the situation, Carroll said: “Very frustrated that he’s not out here. Frustrated by it.”
Gordon signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks before last season. He would become a free agent if he is reinstated by the NFL again.
Gordon’s attorney, Adam Kenner, confirmed to ESPN in June that Gordon’s 2019 suspension was the result of a setback he experienced after the death of his brother that fall. Gordon posted on social media on Nov. 11, 2019, the day he made his Seahawks debut, about losing his older brother.