It won’t be long now, evidently, before we see Josh Gordon back on the field. Remember him? From, like, 2013? The Cleveland Browns wide receiver has hardly played since his first-team All-Pro campaign that year, spending all but five games in the interim serving a number of suspensions for drug violations.
He was recently conditionally reinstated earlier this month, and was able to return to practice last week. Now, he is eligible to return to play in a game for the first time since the end of the 2014 regular season, and the Browns appear to have every intention of getting the most out of him.
“I have big plans for him. I plan for him to play and play as much as he can handle”, Browns head coach Hue Jackson said of the guy who he barely knows. “I think he is a very talented player. He needs to play, needs to get out there and play but we have to see where he is and make sure how much can he handle, how much can he do”.
Cleveland has been hurting, both figuratively and literally, for talent at the wide receiver position to pair with their struggling rookie quarterback, DeShone Kizer. Reinforcements have been on the way. They recently just got back last year’s first-round pick, Corey Coleman, from injured reserve after missing most of the season.
Now they are throwing a true wildcard into the mix with Gordon taking the field, evidently to play a significant role, though it’s not exactly as if they have much to lose. The Browns are 0-11 on the season, and 1-26 since the start of the 2016 season. They’ve only won four games since Gordon was last on the field. In 2014.
“Hopefully, Josh will come back and bring a different spirit to our offensive football team and football team and he can make some plays”, Jackson went on to say. “If he does that, then he will be doing just what we need him to do. I think the players have seen him out there and they have seen what he can do. I think they are excited about him playing and about playing with him. That within itself will bring something to this football team”.
Which, to be quite honest, says just how little there is to the team to start with. There is so much that Gordon has to prove before he can become even close to any sort of trusted figure or hoped-for antidote, something of which I am sure he is aware.
The former second-round pick in the 2012 supplemental draft recently opened up about his substance abuses and addictions, saying in an interview that he has never before played in a game without at least getting drunk beforehand. Assuming that he is able to change that, then perhaps there is a way forward for him, and for the team.