The NFL and fantasy football communities were hit with some shocking and disappointing news yesterday as veteran WR Josh Gordon first announced that he would again be stepping away from the sport to focus on his mental health. That was shortly followed by a report that Gordon had violated the terms of his previous reinstatement and was facing an indefinite suspension. Hours later, the NFL made things official, placing Gordon on the reserve/commissioner suspended list and serving Gordon with an indefinite ban.
Prior to the season, when it was time to report to training camp, Gordon announced that he would take time to himself to focus on his mental health rather than report to the Browns. All reports suggest there was no violation of the league’s substance abuse policy or Gordon’s reinstatement at that time and Gordon finally reported to camp nearly a month after it began.
Gordon was in action in Week One for the Browns, catching one pass for 17 yards and this would prove to be his final game with the team that used a supplemental draft picks to acquire him years prior. The Browns surprisingly kept Gordon off the active roster in Week Two and just days later he was dealt to the Patriots, along with a seventh-round pick for a fifth-rounder. Although the Browns moved quickly because they feared Gordon was close to suffering a relapse, all reports suggest the athletic wideout was not facing a suspension at this time.
In 11 games with the Patriots, Gordon amassed 40 receptions for a team-high 720 yards and 922 air yards, scoring three times. His absence opens 17% of the team’s targets for other pass-catchers and figures to benefit veteran WRs Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson going forward.
For Gordon, this is his fifth suspension, most coming from the league along with one from the Browns. Given his history and his continued struggles with substance abuse and mental health, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that Gordon has played his final game in the NFL.
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Chargers HC Anthony Lynn announced that RB Melvin Gordon (knee) would be back this week to face the Ravens. Gordon has missed three games after suffering the knee injury in Week 12. With RB Austin Ekeler injured as well, the Chargers will be glad to have their superstar back on the field as they battle for a division crown in the season’s final two weeks. Lynn did say that Gordon might not “be himself.”
Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered a groin injury Thursday, forcing him to leave practice. The severity of the injury is unknown but if Smith-Schuster were to miss this week’s game against the Saints, it would open more opportunity for rookie WR James Washington as well as recently activated veteran WR Eli Rogers.
Rams RB Todd Gurley (knee) did not practice Thursday, though HC Sean McVay said he still expects the current fantasy RB1 to suit up against the Cardinals on Sunday. Fantasy players have to be concerned the Rams view this game as an obvious win and rest or fully sit Gurley in favor of rookie RB John Kelly or newly-signed veteran RB C.J. Anderson. RB Justin Davis is also in the mix but is dealing with a shoulder injury.
Packers interim HC Joe Philbin explained that RB Jamaal Williams will be “a big part of the game plan on Sunday.” Williams will draw the start with RB Aaron Jones (knee) now on the injured reserve list. There was some concern that Williams (toe) could miss this weekend’s game but Philbin’s assertion sounds like good news for Williams. ... Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey sat out of practice on Thursday, though was just being given a rest day…A Profootballtalk report suggests the Broncos will fire HC Vance Joseph following the season.
Chargers WR Keenan Allen unfortunately drew the ire of fantasy players when he left the Week 15 game early with a hip injury. ESPN reported that Allen is expected to play in Saturday’s game against the Ravens and was officially given a questionable tag, while HC Anthony Lynn called Allen a game-time decision. ... Redskins QB Colt McCoy (leg) is hopeful he can return in Week 17. This would be an amazing comeback given the broken leg he suffered and considering the way QB Josh Johnson has played in his opportunity, McCoy would likely be returning to a backup role. ... The Panthers placed LB Shaq Thompson (shoulder) on the injured reserve list. ... Giants WR Odell Beckham (quad) did not practice once again and appears set to miss his third straight game. ... Bengals WR Tyler Boyd (knee) did not practice and will almost certainly miss the team’s game this week…Redskins TE Jordan Reed (toe) missed another practice. Don’t expect to see him again this year. ... Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (groin) got in a practice and said he would be playing this week even though his team has been eliminated from the playoff hunt…Packers WR Randall Cobb (concussion) missed practice and looks like a longshot to play against the Jets. ... WR Sammy Watkins (foot) of the Chiefs missed yet another practice. We won’t see him this weekend…Colts TE Eric Ebron (quad) and WR Dontrelle Inman (shoulder) both returned to a full practice…The Redskins pegged TE Vernon Davis (concussion) and WR Josh Doctson (back) as questionable for this week’s game. ... Jets WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle) has been ruled out for this week. He’ll miss his second straight game…Bills veteran RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) said he would play this week against the Patriots…Chargers RB Austin Ekeler is doubtful for Week 16. ... Steelers RB James Conner (ankle) remained sidelined at practice and is expected to miss another game. We should see rookie RB Jaylen Samuels playing a big role against the Saints. ... Several players managed to get in a limited practice. Among them were: DB Xavien Howard (knee), RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring), WR John Ross (knee), , RB Joe Mixon (wrist/thigh), WR Kenny Golladay (chest), RB LeGarrette Blount (calf), WR Bruce Ellington (hamstring), TE Austin Hooper (knee/ankle), TE Rob Gronkowski (ankle/back), RB Lamar Miller (ankle), WR Keke Coutee (hamstring), RB Spencer Ware (hamstring) and RB Matt Breida (ankle).