All-Pro To No Show: Josh Gordon’s Off-Field Battle

Every once in a while, there is a football news story involving another team that transcends individual franchises. For example, we’ve recently been discussing New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham and the implications that may one day stem from his franchise tender arbitration.

Unfortunately, there’s a more sobering storyline currently unfolding for a division rival.

Of course, that is the case of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who has quickly plummeted from All-Pro to no show.

The third-year receiver is already expected to be facing a suspension of a full season after repeated failed drugs tests.

And just a few days ago, he was arrested and charged with a DWI, for which he could eventually serve an additional suspension. That, on the wake of receiving a speeding ticket in May, during which his passenger was found to be in possession of drugs.

Gordon had already begun his second season in 2013 on suspension for the first two games; despite that, however, he went on to lead the league in receiving yards with 1646, which was more than double his total as a rookie.

He did so while averaging just under 19 yards per reception, and recorded nine touchdowns, producing 64 first downs on his 87 catches. As a result, he was named to the first-team All-Pro team, ahead of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.

Needless to say, Gordon’s recent legal troubles will significantly impair his growth and future in his professional interests. There is a belief in some circles that these recent events could well put an end to his career.

It’s clear, however, that the 23-year-old has more significant issues that he must deal with.

This has been best encapsulated by D’Qwell Jackson, Gordon’s former teammate, who was released earlier this offseason.

After the news about Gordon’s most recent incident with the DWI came out, Jackson took to Twitter with the following message:

“If you’re close to Josh Gordon please help this kid, it’s not about football anymore it’s about picking up the pieces of his life”.

It’s difficult to know the specifics of the circumstances that Gordon currently finds himself in, but it’s clearly deeper than what the surface evidence might suggest, as made apparent by his friend’s public appeal above.

Because of the lack of specifics surrounding his position and state of mind, I’ll refrain from speculation, but it’s clear that Gordon’s issues are not limited to the football field, from which he will in all likelihood be barred come September.

Right now, this is just a matter of a young man on the precipice of throwing away his potential, and the lifetime of financial stability that goes with it.

Everybody has somebody in their lives that has at some point or another had to come face to face with their demons, and that appears to be where Gordon must find himself right now. The present circumstances dictate the time and place.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Jacque Strappe

    We’ve all already commented on his issues and need for help. So with that out of the way, let’s get down to the football reality and that it’s not upsetting that we will likely face the Browns and Ravens without Gordon and Rice. So, from a purely selfish standpoint, there’s a silver lining.

  • Jeff

    It’s a shame to see someone handed everything in life, just to throw it all away.

  • Busforever

    Browns curse. Gordon is a tremendous player, and Football Gods can’t tolerate that kind of player in Cleveland.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Guy needs some serious help. Hope the Browns gets him the resources he needs to sober up. This could lead to a lifetime of drug abuse if not stopped now.

  • Ken

    This is just sad… I see an espn 30/30 in is future.

  • Ken

    I’m guessing he worked really hard to get to the point he was at before all the mistakes…

  • Jeff

    He may have. I have no clue. It’d be a real nice story if he gets the help he needs, sobers up, and continues to succeed in the NFL. Actions have consequences though, and he’s been given multiple chances at this point. For the most of us simpletons, one mistake means your out of a job.

  • Dan

    Is it more of a shame when a talented person struggles with addiction, mental illness or behavioral disorders, than when an untalented person struggles with those same issues? I know plenty of untalented people with such issues, but not so many people trying to get those folks help. It’s always better in life to be talented, pretty, rich or able to make other people rich.

  • I feel so dumb! Prior to the draft, I worried lest the Browns do something really smart with all those high-end picks…like draft Watkins [or Evans] and Manziel to go with Gordon. Happily, they blew it re Watkins and Evans; Gordon has trashed his career, and Manziel rolls cash in bathrooms for assisted breathing. Thank GOD for whatever curse lies on the Cleveland Browns. Btw…considering it’s the dead days of the off-season…has anyone researched the roots of the Brownie Curse, i.e., when the Browns sunk from a perennial NFL power to its darkest joke and why it happened? It would read like a horror story.

  • Dan

    That is strange isn’t it? I’m always concerned when they get new owners, GMs, coaches, high draft picks, but something always happens. I was glad to see their slogan this year “Play like a Brown” Yes, well said! Not sure how the curse began, but I’m sure Model was involved. We should all remember to be thankful to be fans of a team run by the Rooney’s.

  • You’re probably right about Art Modell. One would assume that something that’s so franchise-wide had to stem from the actions of someone at the top. Surely, the city itself can’t be to blame. On the other hand, the curse seems to be extending to two versions of the Browns–Modell’s Browns that slunk off to Baltimore and their replacement. It’s not that they lose; it’s also HOW they lose…the “can’t miss” draft picks that consistently floundered, the epic blunders on the field and off. Maybe a die-hard Browns fan would have a clue?