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Seahawks officially release Josh Gordon so he can play in Fan Controlled Football league

News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash. logoNews Tribune, Tacoma, Wash. 3/5/2021 Gregg Bell, The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)

Mar. 5—Josh Gordon is free to play football, but not in the NFL.

The Seahawks officially released the suspended, former All-Pro wide receiver from his ending contract on Thursday, per the league's transactions. That procedural moves clears Gordon, who last played in the NFL for Seattle in December 2019, to play in the new, one-of-a-kind Fan Controlled Football league streamed live on Twitch, the world's leading online gamer platform.

The league listed that the Seahawks released Gordon "From Reserve/Suspended by Commissioner-At Least One Year." That indicated commissioner Roger Goodell's eighth league suspension of the 29-year-old wide receiver for drugs was for all of 2021.

Gordon's contract he signed to return to the Seahawks in September ended with the end of the 2020 regular season. He was to become a suspended free agent March 17.

Goodell conditionally reinstated Gordon in December to begin practicing with Seattle. But before he played in a game the league put him back on an exempt list for what a league spokesman said was Gordon's failure to satisfy all conditions for his reinstatement to play.

The league suspended Gordon again in January. That was a week after the Seahawks' playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Gordon posted on his social-media account that he asked the Seahawks to release him Thursday, knowing that's what needed to happen for him to play in the new fan league. His former Cleveland Browns teammate Johnny Manziel is playing in Fan Controlled Football.

"I personally asked Seahawks for release. The contract was expired but still legally binding..." Gordon wrote on Twitter.

"Sooo instead of sitting at home all year. Why not keep doing what I'm great at.. Not that I have to explain anything, but..." Gordon posted.

The Seahawks also officially released tight end Greg Olsen. The 35-year-old veteran of 14 seasons announced in January he was retiring. The release allows Olsen to fulfill his wish of signing with the Carolina Panthers, where he played for a decade, for one day so he can officially retire with them.

Gordon's release ends the 17-month Seahawks chapter of his troubled career. The prayers of Russell Wilson and many others in Seattle for Gordon were not enough.

This is the eighth suspension by the league and ninth overall in his NFL career for Gordon.

It's another sad part to an incredibly sad life story. He has said he began abusing multiple substances in seventh grade.

Gordon said in December 2019 he believed he had found a new home and new start on life in Seattle and with the Seahawks. Then, after six weeks with the team following the New England Patriots waiving him because of his problems, Goodell suspended Gordon in December 2019 for violating the league's policies on substance abuse and for performance-enhancing drugs.

That suspension lasted 12 months. It lasted through the Seahawks signing him to a new contract in September, with the belief he'd be reinstated to play soon. That didn't happen until Goodell conditionally reinstated him Dec. 3 to practice with the team.

"He's an amazing receiver. A guy who was great for us last season, made some great plays," Wilson said the day the league reinstated Gordon, briefly, in December.

The quarterback said more than that, he hoped Gordon's reinstatement is "a testament to his growth."

"I'm rooting for him to be able to overcome," Wilson said in December. "I hope this time is better than the last time."

Then, the week he was supposed to play against the Rams Dec. 27, Gordon ran afoul of the conditions for his reinstatement with the league. The NFL put him back on its restricted list, allowing him to attend team meetings but not practice or play.

All a league spokesman would confirm to The News Tribune was that Gordon failed to fulfill the requirements of his conditional reinstatement.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wasn't at liberty then to discuss what terms Gordon violated in the league's confidential program for drug offenders.

"We are not able to comment about any of really other than to say that he's still in the (team training) room and working out with our trainers in getting his work done, conditioning-wise," Carroll said Dec. 23.

Carroll said that day Gordon was "very frustrated" with the league's decision to make him ineligible again days before he was going to play.

The Seahawks won that Rams game in late December to win the division. But two weeks later the Rams beat Seattle in the NFC wild-card playoffs.

Gordon was sidelined for all of it.

Now, officially thanks to Seattle's move Thursday, he's in a new, fan-controlled league, writing his latest football chapter.

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