FOXBORO — Josh Gordon is still a member of the Patriots. And while his teammates showed up to Gillette Stadium en masse on Wednesday, Gordon of course did not. He won't until his indefinite suspension is lifted by the NFL. If it's lifted.
Anyone hoping to receive any updates on the receiver's status at this stage was left wanting more following Bill Belichick's first press conference of training camp.
"That'd be a league matter," Belichick said. "You should talk to them about it."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about Gordon and his chances of playing at the annual League Meeting back in March. He didn't rule out a return for Gordon, who was suspended for violating the terms of his reinstatement, but Goodell didn't clarify exactly what needed to happen with Gordon in order for his status to change.
“The first thing right now is the focus on Josh himself as a young man and what he needs to do to get his life on the right track," Goodell said at the time. "That’s what our focus is. We have resources supporting that. That’s our hope, to make sure he gets on the right track. Once he gets on the right track, we’ll get to that place. I think right now, he’s had a complete focus on, ‘I’ve got to keep myself off the field in the right place before I can get back on the field.’ ”
When pressed, there have been no further updates provided by the league on a timetable for Gordon's return. It's unclear how the NFL intends to confirm that Gordon is, in fact, "on the right track" and therefore eligible to have his suspension lifted.
While suspended, Gordon isn't permitted to be in contact with the Patriots, so it should come as no surprise that Belichick didn't have much to say on the matter on the first day of training camp. On the league's part, more detail on what Gordon can do would be welcome. But publicly putting an artificial finish line in front of Gordon might be viewed as calloused and could open up the league to criticism as to whether or not they have an effective plan for a player in need.
So for now we know very little about Gordon, where he's at in his recovery, and the league's plan for him. For the Patriots, little has changed since Gordon was suspended at the end of the 2018 season. They'll move onto their first practice of camp Thursday and embark on 2019 without him.
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