A lot has happened in the NFL lately. Deflategate, Marshawn Lynch speaking to the media about not speaking to the media, the Patriots winning the Super Bowl, Tom Brady being compared to Joe Montana, and Johnny Manziel checking into rehab. Despite all these headlines, we shouldn’t forget about Josh Gordon.
With “three” seasons under his belt, he has gone through a lot, on and off the field. In 2013, he had 87 receptions for over 1600 yards and nine touchdowns and was an all-pro. Pretty sick. His potential to be a perennial superstar wide out was amazing. He was playing at the top of his game, was seen as a role model to kids, and was thought to be a genuine good guy. There was nothing Gordon could do wrong…well, that’s where we all thought wrong. Out of Baylor and Utah, the Cleveland Browns took the receiver in the second round of the supplemental draft in 2012. When he broke out in 2013, the Browns figured the found a needle in a haystack, a “face of the franchise” type of guy.
For the first two games of the 2013 season, his breakout year, the NFL suspended Gordon for substance abuse. This was his first offense in the league, one that was taken rather lightly and brushed off Gordon’s shoulders. However, that was not the end. In the offseason, Gordon was suspended for the entire 2014 NFL season due to another substance abuse policy. However, the NFL’s new drug policy rules reduced that to 10 games. After that, Gordon was back and playing for the Browns. He seemed sincere about his position with drug abuse, and fans hoped and figured he wouldn’t risk suspension again. But once again, they thought wrong. Gordon was suspended yet again for violating team rules in week 17 of the current NFL season. His suspensions were getting out of hand, and the organization became worried. Speculations of trading or releasing Gordon circled the franchise. On the field, Gordon is such a talent. But off the field, he’s out of control although he seems to think otherwise. To repeat the pattern, he was suspended in January 2015 for violating his alcohol ban after being charged with DUI in September 2014.
The road ahead looks dark and foggy for the Brown’s receiver—while we can still call him that. After his most recent suspension, Gordon wrote an open letter to those analysts who had called him out and were concerned about his addiction. He called out Stephen A Smith, a co-host of ESPN’s First Take, Cris Carter of the NFL Countdown on ESPN, and Charles Barkley, a TNT game night analyst. In his letter, Gordon claimed that he wasn’t an addict and that he was misunderstood. He also mentioned that Stephen A, Carter and Barkley “don’t know him” and shouldn’t proclaim him to be a bad guy or a drug/alcohol addict. Clearly he is an addict, since he has not passed a drug test since the 7th grade!
My take is a simple one: if you can’t get on the field because of off-the-field issues, than you should go home. Former New York Giants safety Will Hill was in a similar situation to Gordon. He is a talented safety who was repeatedly getting suspended, so, the Giants cut him, as they should have. The Browns need to do the same.
Josh Gordon is a tremendous talent, however he has been in a lot of trouble time and time again and he clearly doesn’t get the message. The NFL has certain guidelines players must follow, and he cannot follow them, so he should not be in the league until he proves he can. We’re not talking about a hiccup or two; we’re talking about multiple suspensions for drug and alcohol abuse.
As Gordon says, we cannot judge him if we don’t know him. Well, that’s true, but we do know what he has done, and that, we may all judge accordingly. If the Cleveland Browns decide not to release Josh Gordon, it shows that they are a weak franchise with no backbone or any care about the team’s success. If Josh Gordon is not released by the Browns, he will NEVER learn his lesson or know how to take care of himself and get the help he needs. He is in a bad place right now and seems to be in denial about his addiction, which is worse than the addiction itself. That is a bad sign, and therefore he must be released from the Browns. Hopefully he’ll be able to overcome his addictions and take care of himself, but right now, it doesn’t look like he will.
What do you think the Browns should do?
Image of Josh Gordon via insider.espn.go.com
About me: I’m Spencer (Alexander) Zied, a 10th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball, football and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees, Oregon football and North Carolina basketball teams. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).