Josh Gordon’s Potential Return To The NFL

(photo courtesy of David Welker/Getty Images)

(photo courtesy of David Welker/Getty Images)

Josh Gordon had an excellent season in 2013. In his second season, the exciting wide receiver had 87 receptions for 1,646 yards and 9 touchdowns in 14 games. It seemed like he was on his way. But then the 2014 season happened. Gordon was originally suspended for the entire 2014 season for violating the NFL’s drug policy again. But as a result of a revised drug testing and punishment policy between the NFL and the NFL Players' Association, his suspension was reduced to ten games. He only played in five games (suspended for the last game by the team that season) and had 24 receptions for 303 yards and no touchdowns. Gordon was lucky to not be suspended for the entire season that year and it was apparent he had a drug issue. His margin for error was getting smaller and smaller as he would more than likely not get a reprieve from a one-year suspension the next time he got in trouble. Well, he reportedly misunderstood the policy on drugs and alcohol and failed another test. His misunderstanding landed him at least a one year suspension. That year is just about up and Gordon has recently applied for reinstatement. Assuming he has met all the criteria, he could be back in the NFL next season. Whether he is with the Browns or not is not known, but the idea of him being back in the NFL is something that many would not have seen coming.

The talented wide receiver was coming on strong in the time he was on the field. And with him on the team, he gave the Cleveland Browns some excitement at the wide receiver position. But along with the excitement, he also was someone that grew into an undependable person. Gordon knew the drug policy was there. And when he stepped into the NFL, he knew that he would probably be in it. But instead of trying to take it seriously, it seemed like he thought it was a game. And because of that, he missed 28 of potentially 64 games due to suspensions. Sometimes when you saw his words in regards to the incidents, you thought he had learned his lesson and realized the opportunity he had. But instead of that, he reverted right back to the guy that just did not get it. And because of that, he is someone that is hard to trust off the field. For as much as he does on the field, he can negate it all by not making smart decisions. With him looking to be reinstated, the Browns will have to make the decision whether he will be in their plans or not. But more importantly, they have to figure out if they are willing to give him another opportunity. In addition to building a team up and the fate of Johnny Manziel, new Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson has the issue of Gordon to potentially deal with should he be reinstated. And that will definitely be something he will have to think long and hard about because Cleveland needs receivers bad but the risk factor is high for Gordon.

If Gordon is in the right frame of mind and ready to go to work, then he can be a force on the field. The things he can do with his 6’3”, 225 pound frame are great to watch on the field. It will be interesting to see if someone is willing to make a trade for him to add him to their team. After all, Gordon is still on his rookie deal and would not cost much money at all to anyone that wants him. The risk is high in terms of him being able to stay clean and be on the field. But the reward is something that could be great for him. There are a few teams that should potentially take a look at him should he become reinstated. One team that usually takes risks on players is the Cincinnati Bengals. Of course this past season they lost control at the wrong time, but Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has taken player after player that had trouble in the past and made them a contributing member of their team. With Gordon there, that would give the Bengals another weapon and probably the most skilled wide receiver AJ Green has played with in the NFL. Of course that is assuming that Cleveland wants to get rid of him that bad. After all, Gordon is in the same division as the Bengals and he would more than likely have to be released for that to happen. Another team that could take a crack at him would be the Chicago Bears. They could potentially lose Alshon Jeffrey this offseason if someone wants to pay him more than the Bears want to offer. And with that need potentially being there, the Bears may be willing to take a risk on bringing him in and pairing him with young wide receiver Kevin White. There are some other options out there (Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys come to mind) that could potentially take a look at Gordon. It all depends on who wants to take the risk.

Gordon is seeking another opportunity in the NFL and that could potentially come pretty soon. If it does, there the ball will clearly be in Cleveland’s court. If they want him and want to try to make it work, then he will be in Cleveland. If they want to trade him, then that will be difficult to do, but not the hardest thing to do. But in the end, this all depends on Gordon and if he is willing to do what it takes to get back on the field and play again. He is still young and has plenty of years to play in the NFL. He just has to decide how bad he wants to get back on the field or if he even wants to get back on the field. We shall see how this reinstatement process goes with him and what further developments happen.

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