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Josh Gordon entering rehab, delaying return to football

Dale Zanine / USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon announced Thursday that he is entering an in-patient rehab facility and stepping away from his pursuit of a return to football.

"After careful thought and deep consideration I've decided that I need to step away from pursuing my return to the Browns and my football career to enter an in-patient rehabilitation facility," Gordon said in a statement released by the team.

"This is the right decision for me and one that I hope will enable me to gain full control of my life and continue on a path to reach my full potential as a person. I appreciate the support of the NFL, NFLPA, the Browns, my teammates, my agent, and the community through this extremely challenging process."

After missing the entire 2015 season while serving a third suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, Gordon was reinstated this year under the condition that he serve another four-game ban.

News of his decision to enter rehab comes with just one game remaining on that additional league discipline, and thus, a week before he was scheduled to make his highly anticipated return.

"We support Josh in taking this step to seek additional help and treatment." Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said. "His singular focus must be on his own health. We want nothing more than for Josh to be successful personally and professional and will not comment on his status with the organization at this time."

A timeline for Gordon's to rejoin the Browns, and the NFL in general, is now very much uncertain.

The dynamic receiver would presumably be eligible to play upon completing his treatments in rehab, but there's yet to be any indication as to whether he'll again look to pursue a playing career at any point this season or in the near future.

Before all else, Gordon is making a clear effort to get the help he needs and overcome the issues he's dealt with to this point.

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