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.

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