New York Jets running back Mike Goodson was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Goodson, signed as a free agent in the off-season, rejoined the team Monday after being away all of training camp for personal reasons that the Jets declined to detail. He was placed on the team's active/non-football injury/illness list.
"I've been away from the team to take care of some important personal things," Goodson said in a statement issued by the Jets. "The time was helpful to me and now that I am back, I am going to do everything I can to contribute to the team."
Goodson also thanked the organization for its support, adding "I'm thankful to be back with my teammates."
The NFL said in a statement announcing the suspension that Goodson will be eligible to return to the Jets' active roster on Sept. 30, a day after the team's game against the Tennessee Titans. The first game he would be eligible to play in would be against Atlanta on Oct. 7 — a Monday night.
The Jets announced that Goodson will be permitted to attend meetings and work out on his own at the team's practice facility during his suspension, but won't be able to practice or play.
"While we welcome Mike back to the organization," the Jets said in a statement, "we have had direct conversations to make our expectations very clear as we work together to help him move forward in a positive manner, both on and off the field."
Goodson, who played last season with Oakland, was arrested in May with friend Garant Evans after they were found in a car stopped on Interstate 80 in New Jersey. The men were charged with marijuana possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and weapons offences. Police said they found a .45-calibre semi-automatic handgun and a hollow-point bullet in the vehicle.
The 26-year-old Goodson pleaded not guilty and took part in some preseason practices with the Jets, who signed him to a three-year, $6.9 million US deal. The case was sent to a grand jury, but no court date has been scheduled.
Goodson, who spent his first three NFL seasons with Carolina after being a fourth-round pick out of Texas A&M, will likely serve as a change-of-pace back for the Jets. He could also potentially fill the kick returner role once held by Joe McKnight, who was released Monday.
Goodson has rushed for 722 yards and three touchdowns, and caught 59 passes for 524 yards and a TD in his career.