A number of sources have reported yesterday that the Cleveland Browns have received interest from several teams around the league, inquiring about the availability of wide receiver Josh Gordon, a former All-Pro player who has not seen the field much over the course of the last two seasons due to multiple suspensions.
A former second-round acquisition in the Supplemental Draft, Gordon had a fairly productive rookie season in 2012, catching 50 passes for 805 yards and five touchdowns. But his production exploded in his second season and vaulted him quickly—too quickly, perhaps—to the top of the list of the next NFL star.
That year, in 14 games, the Utah product turned 87 receptions into 1646 yards, leading the league in that category, and added nine touchdowns. His sudden ascension prevented Antonio Brown from being recognized as a first-team All-Pro that year, but he has taken Gordon’s place on that list for the past two seasons now, with even more compelling statistical production.
Since that remarkable breakout season, it has been a bumpy road for Gordon. He served a 10-game suspension during the 2014 season due to violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, playing in only five games and gaining just 303 yards on 24 receptions with no touchdowns.
The following offseason, it was revealed that he was found to have doctored test results, diluting his urine samples in an effort to mask his drug use. This was caught, and it resulted in him receiving an indefinite suspension with possibility for reinstatement after roughly a calendar year.
The league still had issues a calendar year later, and made him wait several more months until he has only in recent weeks been reinstated. Even so, he was levied with a four-game suspension to start the 2016 season, and also began Browns’ training camp on the Non-Football Injury List.
Things have been looking up since then, though, coming off the NFI List and having had some of his teammates who were around him in 2013 note that he looks much the same that he did that year. Of course, the proof will be in the pudding, and he is unlikely to even start this year.
In any event, however, the Browns appear intent on keeping Gordon after having stuck with him through so much already, and for his part, Gordon has said that he wants to be with the Browns as well. They will, it seems, rise or fall together.
It will be interesting to see how this offense looks once Gordon does return from his suspension, and how they involve him in that offense without disrupting whatever chemistry was built in their new offense during the first four weeks of the season, which was an issue during his last mid-season return.
The Browns drafted Corey Coleman in the first round with the intention of starting him, and it appears that Terrelle Pryor has emerged as the player likely to start across from him. Gordon could work as the third receiver once he returns.