The important thing for suspended receiver Josh Gordon is not where he's been but rather "where he's going," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday during Super Bowl weekend festivities in San Francisco.
"I'm hopeful that Josh understands that he is going to have to conduct himself differently going forward to be a member of the NFL and to be representing the Cleveland Browns or any team in the NFL," Goodell said.
The decision on whether Gordon returns from a year-long suspension is up to Goodell, and will be made within 60 days of Gordon's application to return. He applied for reinstatement last month.
Gordon was banned from the league for one year after he repeatedly violated the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
"The process is we'll go back and we'll look at how he's conducted himself over the last several months, what he's done to make sure it's consistent with the terms of the suspension," Goodell said. "At some stage we'll have a report on that and I will engage with our people to understand where he is, where he's been.
"But most importantly it's where he's going. When these things happen it's about trying to avoid them in the future. Our No. 1 issue here is to prevent these things from happening."
Gordon was one of the NFL's best receivers in 2013 with 87 receptions for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games. He was suspended for the first two games of 2013 and the first 10 in 2014 by the league, and for the season finale in '14 by the team for missing the walk-through the day before. His one-year ban was announced Feb. 4, 2015.