Josh Gordon, former Cleveland Browns star wide receiver, is back in the news again after he has proclaimed he wants to make his return to football after a serious battle with drug and alcohol addiction. Gordon hasn’t played in a game since the 2014 season, which means he has missed 51 of the last 56 games for the Browns. Marc Sessler of NFL.com reported, noting the NFL announced Gordon—who is on the Commissioner’s Exempt List—was reinstated on a conditional basis and can start practicing again on Nov. 20. He will then be eligible to join the active roster on Nov. 27, although such a move would be at the Browns’ discretion.
Besides his 2012 rookie season, Gordon had missed some or all games in each of his NFL seasons due to his struggles with substance abuse. When he did play, he was one of the top receivers in the NFL. In just 14 games, he led the NFL in receiving yards in 2013 with 1,646 yards.
Gordon recently did an interview with GQ Magazine that was released on Monday, where he stated he used drugs and/or alcohol before every NFL game he ever played. Gordon told GQ that he would make taking some substance “a ritual … before every game.” He would go on to say, “We would stay at the team hotel and then players are allowed to go back home, get what they need, and then go to the game. So I’d leave the hotel early morning, go home, eat breakfast, do my little ritual, whatever it may be, some weed, some alcohol, and then go to the game. And then, I’d definitely be partying after every game, win or lose. Every game.” Josh said he started taking drugs in the 7th grade, continued through his time in college at Baylor University, and then obviously in the NFL.
When Gordon was asked if NFL teams knew about this addiction prior to the NFL Draft, “When I got to the league, I think they had their doubts from the very beginning,” Gordon said. “From the day they drafted me, they had to know there was some type of risk involved. I don’t think that they specifically knew. But I’m sure they had their doubts. [I] missed a lot of meetings, showed up late a lot of times, eyes were probably bloodshot on many occasions. But I guess you couldn’t really draw a definitive conclusion because I thought I was evasive enough. And because nobody told me anything.”
Gordon played 35 games for the Browns, all in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons. He will be reporting to the Browns on Tuesday. Despite not have played for a few years, he is only 26-years-old. Now that he is sober, you would assume that he is in the best physical and mental shape of his life. If he can contribute numbers similar to the stats he was putting up back a few years ago, then the Browns now have a potential pro-bowler at receiver. If the Browns decide to part ways with him, then there are plenty of teams in need of receiving. The New York Giants come to mind as their season has gone downhill since losing Odell Beckham Jr. The Dallas Cowboys have a history of bringing in guys who no one else wants and would lose to give Dak Prescott another option to throw to. Whomever he signs with would get him for the team’s final five games of the season.
I’m sure Gordon will be happy if any team is willing to give him a shot, even if it’s Cleveland. However, he has had some trouble in Cleveland recently. He said he had to move to Gainesville, FL due to harassment from Browns fans in Cleveland.
“Living in Cleveland, sometimes it could be a nightmare,” Gordon said. “I’ve been harassed, had drinks thrown at me. I’ve been [followed] in the grocery store, heckled everywhere. At the games, people harassed and heckled my brothers and my mom. [My] brothers got into fights in the stands. Cars [have] been jumped on. Somebody dented the hood of the car. Had to sue a guy and get the money back cause he damaged the car. People are throwing money, pennies, to break the windows. So Cleveland was rough, man.”
Gordon is just a young man who is trying to get his life together and get back to doing something he loved. When he played, he was a phenomenal receiver who made special plays and brought fans to their feet. If he is truly completely sober, he would be a great addition to any team.
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