Cleveland Browns

Josh Gordon is ready for his return Sunday

Credit Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Josh Gordon hasn’t played a meaningful game in the NFL in almost three years, his last regular season game was week 16 in 2014. Fast forward to this Sunday, Gordon is starting for the Cleveland Browns. He has been suspended on five separate occasions and has only played in 35 games since being drafted in the second round by the Browns in 2012. In just his second season in 2013, Gordon led the league in receiving.

Not every NFL player’s story is the same and Gordon believes he is lucky to not only have that opportunity, but he is fortunate to even be alive. Growing up surrounded by gangs, drugs, and shootings in Houston, Texas, Gordon has had the odds stacked against him since the very beginning. He’s admitted that he sold marijuana in college (making an estimated $10,000 a month) and would drink or smoke before most games. Gordon has had success at the highest level possible in the sport of football and he wasn’t even sober. Routinely drug tested nearly twice a week since entering the NFL, Josh Gordon has been given yet another chance, to entertain us on Sunday’s.

The Cleveland Browns aren’t exactly the gold-standard of NFL franchises and they haven’t had a winning season in ten years. Currently at 0-11, that will not change this year. Hue Jackson is in his second year as head coach of the team, the front office is new, more analytical than most and the team is loaded with draft picks for the next few seasons. Clearly still in “rebuilding” mode, the Browns need a lot of help and a dominant wide receiver still under the age of 30 is definitely a step in the right direction. As fans it’s easy to gravitate to players with an unusual road to the league and there might not be too many stories better than Josh Gordon’s. The Browns play the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday and Josh Gordon will be starting at wide receiver.

“He’s still got to earn the right to be here,” Jackson said. “He’s earned the right to get back here. He’s got to earn the right to be here each and every day, and he’s been outstanding thus far here. And again, all the things I think were talked about were past behavior.

“Obviously I think he understands that the antennas are up everywhere, and they should be.”

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