With the XFL season nearly complete, we are beginning to hear of numerous players getting invited to NFL rookie minicamps. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a handful of players coming in, some of which may be signed to the 90-man offseason roster at the end of the weekend.
One player about whom we have heard nothing yet, however, is a rather interesting name, and one many will be quite familiar with: Josh Gordon. The former second-round wide receiver was one of the best in the NFL for a brief period of time before drug abuse completely derailed what could have been an excellent and very lucrative career.
Playing in just 14 games during the 2013 season, his second, due to a two-game suspension, Gordon earned first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors after putting up a league-leading 1,646 yards on 87 catches with nine touchdowns. And I will remind you that he was playing with Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, and Brian Hoyer at quarterback.
His career would never be the same again because of suspensions, including most of the 2014 season and all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He has had numerous stints, even playing just last year for two games with the Tennessee Titans at the age of 31, but he’s never been able to hang on since then, though he’s never given up.
If he is to get yet another chance, however, it won’t be from his former team the Cleveland Browns, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “The Browns have given Josh Gordon plenty of chances over the years and he’s run out of them here”, she wrote in response to a question about the team’s interest in a reunion, noting that they are excited about the wide receiver they just drafted.
“Their No. 74 pick, Cedric Tillman out of Tennessee, gives them a big-bodied No. 1 receiver in the mold of a Gordon if he can develop over the years”, she wrote. “Tillman has plenty of upside potential to possibly take over for Amari Cooper down the road if he’s as good as they hope”.
Cleveland’s top receiver is Cooper. Acquired via trade a year ago, he caught 76 passes for 1,160 yards with nine touchdowns in his first season with the team. They again added to the position via trade this offseason, collecting Elijah Moore from the New York Jets for a swap of day-two picks.
The team also added Marquise Goodwin this offseason, a former speedster now 32 years old, and has Donovan Peoples-Jones entering year four and Anthony Schwarz going into his third season. Tillman gives the Browns yet another option to work with, enough that they feel no need to go toying with Gordon.
But after a strong season in the XFL with the Seattle Sea Dragons, one would imagine someone will give him a chance at some point. After all, he played in NFL games just last year. He only turned 32 years old last month. He can be had on a minimum deal with no signing bonus. The risk is minimal.