NFL Star and Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon is in trouble again.
Gordon was arrested on a charge of driving while impaired in Raleigh, N.C., early Saturday morning. Gordon was pulled over just before 3 a.m. for driving 50 mph in a 35 mph zone, and was subsequently arrested for DWI. Gordon, who listed a Cleveland address, was taken to the Wake County Detention Center.
This is just the latest in a string of off-field issues for the talented wide receiver, who led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards last year despite missing two games while serving a drug-related suspension. He is currently facing a ban of at least one year under the league’s drug policy, pending appeal. The Browns were hoping to know the outcome of Gordon’s appeal by the time players report to training camp in three weeks.
The Browns selected Gordon in the 2012 supplemental draft, knowing he had drug issues while in college at Baylor and Utah. It was a high-risk, high-reward type of move, and the Browns have now experienced both. Gordon has flashed immense talent when he’s been allowed to play as the rare type of big and fast receiver that can truly take the top off a defense. But he’s also caused many headaches, now for multiple coaching staff and front office regimes, in Berea, Ohio.
Gordon is among the most talented players in the NFL: Last season, despite missing two games and playing in an otherwise terrible offense in Cleveland, Gordon led the league in receiving yards. But Gordon’s problems with substance abuse have always overshadowed his accomplishments on the football field. In college at Baylor, Gordon was suspended from the football team twice for violations of team rules related to marijuana, and he ultimately left college early and entered the supplemental draft.
As a pro, Gordon has already been suspended once by the NFL for violating the substance-abuse policy, he has an appeal hearing scheduled for late this month for a potential one-year suspension for another violation of the substance-abuse policy, and his DWI arrest could lead to further league discipline beyond the suspension he’s currently appealing.
Gordon is only 23 years old. If someone can help him pick up the pieces of his life, he could have a great career ahead of him. If not, Gordon will be remembered as one of the greatest wastes of talent in NFL history. But this is of course if he lives through this.
This brings us to the question that “Is this about more than a star athlete giving a city and NFL franchise hope of a winning season?”
Researching Gordon shows that his troubles and drug use started back in high school, escalating through college and coming to a peak now in the Pros. Gordan stands to lose upward of 40 million on this next contract clearly showing that not much will stand between this NFL star and his wreckless behavior.
Would a sober coach have helped keep Gordon on a much more productive path during college? And would a sober coach now in the NFL get better results for Josh Gordon by holding him accountable for his destructive behavior and helping him work through the underlying issues that are contributing to this behavior.
One thing is for sure, we are talking about much more than a number on the back of a jersey that generates mega cash. We are talking about a human life that is close to killing itself.