The New England Patriots did all they could to protect Josh Gordon from himself, but in the end it wasn’t enough.

The star wideout landed back on the commissioner’s exempt list Thursday, reportedly for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy — and not just marijuana. But before slipping up, Gordon first had to elude sophisticated security assigned to him by the Patriots, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday, citing sources.

“The New England Patriots had an elaborate security plan in place to try to prevent the exact slipup that cost wide receiver Josh Gordon this season and quite possibly his NFL career, sources tell ESPN,” Schefter wrote. “The Patriots assigned people to be with Gordon at all times so that he could avoid the temptations that landed him on the suspended list last week, according to sources.

“Sources believe that Gordon somehow eluded New England’s security team during the team’s Nov. 18 bye weekend.”

While Gordon has no one to blame but himself, his story nevertheless is a sad one. The 27-year-old clearly is one of the most talented receivers in football, and seems like a good person at heart, but has struggled immensely in his battle against personal demons.

The Patriots will look to move on Sunday when they host the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium. New England can clinch its 10th consecutive AFC East title with a victory.

Whether another division crown will be enough to stave off a reported looming “mass exodus” remains to be seen.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images