Even with Gordon's multiple suspensions and missed time rendering him a third-year veteran, he has accrued enough National Football League service to be a free agent then.
Josh Gordon's surprising release from the Cleveland Browns is getting a little more clarity.
"This afternoon we informed Josh Gordon and his representatives that we are going to release him on Monday", general manager John Dorsey said in a statement.
Although Gordon missed all of training camp and the preseason, he saw plenty of action against the Steelers.
He had been ruled out for their Week 2 matchup against the New Orleans Saints due to a hamstring injury. After a superb 2013 season in which Gordon caught 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games, the talented pass-catcher couldn't stay on the field.
A second-round pick in the 2012 supplemental draft, Gordon, 27, caught 180 passes for 3,106 yards and 16 touchdowns in 41 games with the Browns. He first was suspended in 2014, and did not play again until November 2017, when he was reinstated on a conditional basis.
Despite his past issues, Gordon was welcomed back by the Browns late last season. But given Gordon's talent, it's likely that more than one receiver-needy club will be fascinated by the idea of doing what the Browns ultimately could not: tap into his vast well of talent while also steering him clear of his many troubles. A report emerged from NFL.com shortly after the Browns' announcement that how he injured the hamstring after being healthy at practice on Friday played a part in the decision to release the receiver. With Gordon gone, the team will rely heavily on Rashard Higgins and Antonio Callaway to work alongside Jarvis Landry and tight end David Njoku.