Here we go again, the talented but troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon has finally had one of his many attempts to be reinstalled into the NFL accepted by Roger Goodell and the league. Is this as good a thing for the Cleveland Browns as all the many desperate fans of the team are making out? I’m not so sure it is.
Josh Gordon’s History
Let’s just have a quick look at the guy’s history before I give my opinion on his reinstatement into the league.
In 2010, whilst at Baylor University, Josh Gordon was found asleep in a car with a fellow university football team member whilst in a Taco Bell drive-through lane…WTF?! Police found marijuana in the vehicle which resulted in Gordon’s suspension from the universities football programme while his teammate was kicked off the team altogether as it was his second offence.
Follow this up the next year with Gordon being suspended indefinitely from the universities football programme for failing a drugs test when he tested positive for marijuana. He transferred to the University of Utah but never played a down for them as he immediately tried to declare for the 2011 NFL supplemental draft but messed that up as well by doing it too late and therefore had to sit out the season for Utah.
So, after all these warning s that this kid had some serious substance issues, it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that most teams in the NFL weren’t willing to take a chance on him even though he was gifted with ability – if only he had the brains and common sense to match. But not the Browns….oh no…they gave up a second-round pick to take him in the 2012 NFL supplemental draft.
The people who made the decision to take a chance on him and give up such a high pick to do so nearly looked like they knew what they were doing. In his rookie year, Gordon was among the top rookies with his 50 catches for 805-yards and 5TD’s. He followed that up a year later with a fantastic season of 87 catches for 1,646-yards and 9TD’s which included him becoming the first wide receiver to go for over 200-yards in two consecutive games. All this added up to him being selected to the Pro Bowl and rightly so as he was the best receiver that year. It’s worth mentioning that he did all this in fourteen games as he was suspended for the first two for, you’ve guessed it, substance abuse.
It would seem that all the accolades bestowed upon him the previous season were too much for this immature kid to handle. In 2014 he was arrested again for substance abuse related offences and suspended by the league and the Browns for the majority of the year – he only played in five games that year and made 24 receptions for 303-yards.
The following year, 2015, saw him suspended for its entirety due to alcohol-related offences. It wasn’t until the middle of 2016 that he was allowed to participate in the league again but he decided to check himself into rehab later that year (September).
It’s taken until November 2017 for the league to believe that he’s clean and ready to come back and have given him a conditional reinstatement to the NFL as a means for him to prove himself and get his career back on track.
He is immediately allowed to get back to the team’s facilities and participate in meetings and conditioning workouts but he can’t participate in team practices until November 20th. It’s up to the team and the player on November 27th to decide whether or not he’s ready to be reactivated as a Browns player eligible to be selected on game day.
Am I as pleased as all those other desperate Browns fans out there who are jumping on the “Yay, the best player in the league is back!” bandwagon? HELL NO!
Am I pleased he’s back with the team? Meh, not really bothered to be honest.
Do I think he’ll be good for the team? Nope. He’s not played since the end of 2014 and clearly has issues that I doubt he’s really over – he could be bad for the dressing room unless he’s really changed as a person.
Do I think he’ll still be a Brown by the beginning of next season? With this front office in place, who knows. They obviously like to stockpile draft picks so he could be traded for one of those.
Do I think he’s just begged to be allowed back into the league because he’s run out of money? HELL YEAH! That’s his only motivation in my opinion.
He’s even said, not too long ago, that he’s run out of money after being suspended without pay, which is why I can’t see this as being motivated by anything other than money. I don’t see him as the kind of person who wants to work for a living and just wants to make a quick buck and be gone. He only played a couple of seasons in college and then in the NFL before chucking it all away. If he weren’t out of cash already I really don’t think we’d be seeing what we are now.
I must admit that I am intrigued to see what comes of this, but I think he’ll either come back and be mediocre before being traded (if he’s not traded immediately by the Browns that is) or he’ll come back and play well before going off the rails again once he’s got cash in the bank.
The obvious ideal scenario for the Browns is that Josh Gordon truly is a changed person and has indeed kicked his habits that have got in the way of him making something of himself and he genuinely wants to come back and play football and help the Cleveland Browns with their rebuild.
If this were all true, it would be massive for the team (if he comes back with the same God-given ability he had previously) as WR is a position of huge need right now and would mean they wouldn’t have to invest quite so much in the off-season there. It would also give DeShone Kizer someone with ability to throw to and we could start to, finally, see improvement from him.
What Do The Browns Do Now?
This is another intriguing storyline to watch with regards to the Browns as the coaches obviously want talented players on the roster who can save them their jobs but the front office would appear to have a plan of building a team for the future through the draft and so could see Josh Gordon as simply an unexpected added bonus to trade for another pick(s).
I don’t know what will happen here but it will probably give reporters a lot of material to write about and blow up the apparent rift between FO and coaches within the Cleveland Browns organisation.