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Patriots receiver Josh Gordon says he is stepping away from football again to focus on mental health

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Patriots receiver Josh Gordon says he is stepping away from football again to focus on mental health

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New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon says he is stepping away from football to focus on his mental health.

Gordon wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning that he is leaving the team “for a bit” and did not specify a timetable for his return. The former Cleveland Brown wideout, who has been suspended multiple times in his career for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, also took an extended absence from football during training camp earlier this year.

“I take my mental health very seriously at this point to ensure I remain able to perform at the highest level,” Gordon wrote on Twitter. “I have recently felt like I could have a better grasp on things mentally. With that said, I will be stepping away from football for a bit to focus on my mental health.

“I would like to thank Coach (Bill) Belichick, Mr. (Robert) Kraft, as well as countless others within the Patriots organization for their continued support. I want to thank my fans for their support as well as I continue down the path getting back to 110%.”

Gordon was indefinitely suspended by the NFL in 2014 before being reinstated midway through last season. NFL Network reported Thursday that Gordon is “facing another indefinite suspension for violating terms of his reinstatement under the substance abuse policy,” citing an anonymous source.

The Patriots wrote in a statement on Twitter that they support Gordon’s attempts to focus on his health, which they described as “a private and personal matter, which we intend to respect.”

Gordon, 27, had emerged as one of Tom Brady’s favorite downfield targets in recent weeks. He had 41 catches for 737 yards and four touchdowns so far this season.

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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