Seattle Seahawks' Josh Gordon has setback in recovery from substance abuse, with return to field in doubt, source says

SEATTLE -- Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon has experienced another setback in his recovery from substance abuse, a source confirmed to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

The news comes as Gordon was preparing to return to the field for the first time since he was indefinitely suspended by the NFL last December, a comeback that is now in jeopardy.

Gordon, 29, is grappling with the reality that he might never be allowed to play in the NFL again, the source told Fowler, as indications throughout the process of his reinstatement from his latest suspension were that this was probably his final strike.

Gordon and the Seahawks were notified Tuesday that the NFL determined the receiver had not satisfied the terms of his conditional reinstatement, another source told ESPN. That makes him ineligible to practice or play in games for the time being.

Gordon was set to begin practicing Wednesday and had a chance to play Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, coach Pete Carroll said Monday. This was the first week in which Gordon was eligible to practice and play in a game, provided he complied with the conditions of his Dec. 3 reinstatement.

Gordon has been allowed to take part in meetings, individual workouts and strength and conditioning since then. He is still allowed to do so even with Tuesday's developments, a source said.

The Seattle Times first reported that Gordon's return was on hold because he had not satisfied the terms of his conditional reinstatement. NFL Network first reported that it was over a substance abuse setback.

The NFL's transaction wire notes that Gordon was put back on the commissioner's exempt list Tuesday, one day after he was taken off of it.

Gordon was allowed back at Seahawks headquarters on Dec. 9 after completing his COVID-19 testing. He tweeted that day that he was "excited as hell to be back amongst the family like this."

Carroll said Wednesday that he's not allowed to comment on any specifics of Gordon's situation, including the nature of his setback. He said Gordon will remain on the Seahawks' roster.

"We're not able to comment about any of it, really, other than to say that he's still coming in, working out with our trainers, and getting his work done conditioning-wise," Carroll said. "We'll revisit it again next week. Certainly disappointed not to have him for his sake and for a lot of things, but we'll stay with it and we'll see what happens next week."

Asked how Gordon is handling the situation, Carroll said: "Very frustrated that he's not out here. Frustrated by it."

Gordon caught seven passes for 139 yards in five games with the Seahawks last season. He was set to compete with David Moore and Freddie Swain for playing time in their receiver corps behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The Seahawks on Wednesday signed wide receiver Penny Hart to their practice squad, along with veteran offensive lineman Alex Boon.

Gordon was suspended indefinitely last December for violations of the league's policies on performance-enhancing substances and substances of abuse. It was Gordon's sixth suspension since the 2013 season and his fifth for some form of substance abuse, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Gordon's attorney, Adam Kenner, confirmed to ESPN in June that Gordon's latest suspension was the result of a setback he experienced after the death of his brother last fall. Gordon posted on social media on Nov. 11, 2019, the day he made his Seahawks debut, about losing his older brother.