At his peak, Josh Gordon was one of the top receivers in the National Football League. At his lowest, Gordon was merely another victim of addiction that let his life spiral out of control, losing everything he once had. Now, Gordon is on a mission to not only get back on the field, but to dominate like the old “Flash” was accustomed to doing so.
He took the league by storm since his entrance via the NFL Supplemental Draft in 2012. In his second season, Gordon found himself as a first-team All-Pro, leading the league with 1,646 receiving yards despite missing two games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Since 2013, Gordon’s career has seen the likes of multiple suspensions, causing him to only have played five games since the conclusion of the 2014 season.
Now, Gordon is looking at playing his first full season since his rookie year. With the upgraded talent around him, there’s hope for not only Gordon, but the entirety of Cleveland, to get back on track and start winning football games. On Tuesday, Browns head coach Hue Jackson admitted that despite his arrival back to the team following a self-imposed break for mental health, Gordon would not be starting in the team’s opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I don’t care if he is 100 percent, he’s not starting against Pittsburgh,” Jackson told ESPN. “We will come up with the right package for him to play. I wouldn’t expect him to go play the whole game or anything like that, but I expect him to contribute to the football team.”
Jackson has found himself at the helm of many odd decisions, the latest of which involved playing receiver Antonio Callaway the whole game during preseason action after Callaway was pulled over for driving with a suspended license and possession of marijuana. Not starting one of the most talented receivers in the league is a questionable call, considering you don’t have much to lose after going 0-16 the year prior. If Gordon is healthy, why not start him? Gordon is currently dealing with a minor hamstring injury, but should be ready for the season opener.
Thus the question begs to be asked: Is everything okay with Flash?
Addiction is real. It has torn apart many families in this great country and unfortunately will continue to do so. It’s a struggle Josh knows all too well. When you are accustomed to a lifestyle, it’s extremely difficult to overcome and move forward. With Gordon facing suspension after suspension, it became quite obvious his problems were more serious than once thought.
These problems don’t just leave, no matter how far along the road to recovery one is. While the critically acclaimed HBO series Hard Knocks began filming at Browns’ training camp, Gordon decided to not partake in camp as part of his treatment plan. Were the Browns trying to keep Gordon away from the cameras? Is Josh truly not done rehabilitating?
With Gordon stepping away before the preseason began, and Jackson’s decision to not start him in the team’s opener, a lot of rumors are swirling in Cleveland. From Gordon being potentially traded to him being in trouble again, questions are beginning to be asked.
As fans of football, we want to see the best of everybody’s abilities. When Gordon is on the field, he’s undeniably one of the most dangerous players at his position. We root for Josh to succeed not only as fans of football or fantasy owners, but as human beings who can relate to struggles. Here’s to hoping Gordon can stay on the right track, as he’s the only one standing between him and the greatness we saw a mere five years ago.