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NFL wants Josh Gordon to show he's changed before reinstatement

Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR

SAN FRANCISCO -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants Josh Gordon to convince him that he will change his lifestyle before reinstating him from indefinite suspension for repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.

In response to a question at his annual Super Bowl press conference, Goodell acknowledged receiving Gordon’s application for reinstatement, which was delivered just before the one-year anniversary of Gordon’s suspension.

League rules say Goodell has up to 60 days to rule on Gordon’s reinstatement for the 2016 season. He would not specify how soon he may deliver a judgment.

“The process is we will go back and 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 his suspension, and 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, where he’s going,” Goodell said.

“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.

“I’m hopeful that Josh understands that he’s 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. So, our job is to try to get people to understand that, try to make sure that they live by the policies that we have, and ensure that this is what all of us want and also what the fans want. Our fans want everybody playing by the same rules.”

Gordon was suspended indefinitely on Feb. 3, 2015, for violating terms of a previous 10-game suspension at the beginning of the 2014 season.

Gordon has written that he tested positive for alcohol, which was banned as a result of a negotiated ruling that involved a DUI offense he had in July of 2014.

Gordon also served a two-game suspension in 2013 for testing for codeine, a banned NFL substance. He also was expelled from Baylor University and University of Utah for positive tests of marijuana.

A source told ESPN Cleveland this week that Gordon is confident he has met terms of his indefinite suspension to merit reinstatement.

If reinstated, Gordon will revert to Stage 3 of the NFL substance abuse policy. It means he would continue to receive random testing and be one strike away from another indefinite suspension.