Former NFL wide receiver Josh Gordon will return to the sport in the startup Fan Controlled Football league, as a member of the Zappers, team owner Bob Menery told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday.
Gordon will join former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel on that team’s roster.
The league, which began play this month, features 7-on-7 games where fans set rosters, call plays and interact in a blend of traditional and esports environments.
Gordon’s on-again, off-again NFL career ran into another roadblock last month as a member of the Seattle Seahawks, when he was suspended indefinitely after the league rescinded his conditional reinstatement.
An NFL spokesperson told ESPN at the time that the decision stemmed from Gordon, 29, violating terms of his conditional reinstatement under the league’s substance-abuse policy. No other details were provided from the league.
The league suspended Gordon indefinitely in December 2019 for violations of its policies on substances of abuse and performance-enhancing substances. That was Gordon’s sixth suspension since the 2013 season and his fifth for some form of substance abuse, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Gordon was conditionally reinstated by the NFL in December and was set to practice with the Seahawks in the final two weeks of the regular season. Coach Pete Carroll said at the time that he had a chance to play Week 16 against the Los Angeles Rams. But that same week, the NFL placed him on the commissioner’s exempt list.
Gordon signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks before last season began. In 63 NFL games, he has 247 receptions, 4.252 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the 2012 NFL supplemental draft, after playing at Utah and Baylor.
FCF teams are playing a six-week schedule, with games live-streamed on Twitch from a league-leased facility in Atlanta. The games last about an hour, and the field is 50-by-35 yards with 10-yard end zones.
Players have backgrounds from the FBS and FCS college levels, along with the CFL, XFL and the Indoor Football League, Manziel among them.
Before FCF, Manziel, 28, last played football in April 2019 for the Alliance of American Football and also has played in The Spring League and the CFL since the Browns released him in 2015. Manziel and Gordon were teammates in Cleveland.