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NFL bad boy Josh Gordon 'stepping away' from the league following fresh drug ban rumors

NFL bad boy Josh Gordon 'stepping away' from the league following fresh drug ban rumors
New England Patriots receiver Josh Gordon has announced he is to a leave of absence from the Super Bowl contenders, saying that he must concentrate on his mental health amid rumors of a violation of the league's drug policy.

The 27-year-old, who joined the Bill Belichick's team from the Cleveland Browns after the start of this season, announced his forthcoming absence in a social media post on Thursday afternoon.

"I take my mental health very seriously at this point to ensure I remain able to perform at the highest level," he wrote. "I have recently felt like I could have a better grasp on things mentally. With that said, I will be stepping away from the football field for a bit to focus on my mental health."

Gordon continued his statement, thanking Coach Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft, as well as fans for their understanding.

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However, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported that the reason for Gordon's statement is due to yet another violation of the NFL's drugs policy.

Gordon, considered by some as one of the finest wide receivers of his generation, has endured a stop-start career due to a series of incidents with drugs since his rookie season in 2012. He missed the entirety of the 2015 and 2016 seasons for infractions of the leagues drug policy. 

This came after a breakthrough season for the Browns in 2013 in which he scored 9 touchdowns and amassed an impressive 1,646 receiving yards. 

Gordon was traded to the Patriots earlier this season after Cleveland apparently grew frustrated with his off-the-field behavior. 

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Gordon has emerged as Tom Brady's second receiver at the Patriots this season, catching 40 passes for 720 yards. His departure from the team leaves them deprived of depth as they approach the post-season, with just Julian Edelman considered to be a top-level receiver, alongside less heralded players Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson and Phillip Dorsett.

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