Patriots' Gordon stepping away to focus on mental health

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Patriots receiver Josh Gordon says he is stepping away from football in order to focus on his mental health.

In a statement posted on Twitter on Thursday morning, Gordon said his decision was spurred by him feeling recently that he could have a better grasp on things mentally. He thanked the Patriots for their support and vowed to work his way back.

The Patriots did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gordon has been suspended multiple times by the NFL for violations of its drug policies since being drafted by the Browns in 2012. Any sort of violation of NFL substance abuse policy could lead to a lifetime ban.

He missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Prior to trading Gordon, Browns officials said they felt it was time to cut ties with him.

Gordon had an All-Pro season in 2013, with 87 receptions for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns. He's had 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns since joining New England.

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