Cleveland Browns Troubled WR Josh Gordon Deserves Impending Punishment and Suspension

Updated: May 15, 2014

As the Cleveland Browns held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to officially announce the contract extension signed by Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden, the happy day was still overshadowed by the pending suspension of wide receiver Josh Gordon. While Haden and the Browns made a five-year deal worth $68 million official, the top receiver in the NFL a season ago was somewhere attempting to figure out how he can avoid a year suspension after his breakout season.

Josh Gordon's looming suspension overshadowed Joe Haden's big day in Berea.

Josh Gordon’s looming suspension overshadowed Joe Haden’s big day in Berea.

Haden’s ascension to one of the NFL’s elite cornerbacks wasn’t easy, as he has dealt with his own issues since the Browns made him the No. 7 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. From a poor 40-yard dash time (4.57) which many said would cause a significant drop in the draft to a four-game suspension in 2012 for Adderall use, Haden’s career could have gone much differently. After losing four game checks worth a reported $1.3 million total and feeling like he abandoned his teammates, Haden turned things around and has not only become a leader but taken his game to the next level at the same time.

In what seemingly is a coincidence, Gordon is facing a major crossroads in his NFL career heading into his third season—like Haden was in 2012. After failing yet another drug test, Gordon is rumored to be heading down a path that will result in a one-year ban from the NFL. Not only has Gordon let his teammates down, but it will likely cost him a lot of money following the 2015 season when he is set to become a free agent.

Where Gordon and Haden differ in a big way is that this isn’t the first time Gordon has been in trouble. The 6’3” and 225-pound Baylor product has had drug issues dating back to his college days which led to being dismissed from one program and never seeing the field at another.

It all began at Baylor, as he was first suspended in October of 2010 after being found asleep with a teammate at Taco Bell where the police found marijuana in his teammate’s car. Most would think that would cause a light to go off somewhere in Gordon’s head, however, he was suspended in July of 2011 for failing a drug test and testing positive for marijuana. He would be dismissed from the team which led to his decision to transfer to Utah one month later.

In regard to his dismissal from Baylor, Gordon was quoted saying, “It was due to a failed marijuana test. It was against school policy, of course, and I was (suspended) in the summer. I’m definitely put that part of my life behind me. I don’t plan to ever go back there. It was a difficult time, but I learned from it, and I’ve moved on.”

Gordon never saw the field at Utah, instead deciding to enter the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft. When asked about that decision and the process he stated, “They (scouts) want to know what kind of character guy I am. They want to know if I can be trusted. They want to know if I’m going to be a guy that always has off-the-field issues. I want to make it clear I’m not going to be that guy.”

He continued, “I know how much heartache it caused my family, how much strain it put on me and my family. I don’t plan on ever going back there again.”

The majority of those quotes came prior to him becoming a Cleveland Brown, but the same theme was contained in all of them—Gordon was going to change and never go back to that life of drugs. He echoed the same thing when selected by the Browns in 2012, but was eventually suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season (his second in the league) after failing yet another drug test.

Once again in 2013, Gordon found himself in the spotlight of another failed drug test, confirming to the fans that he would likely face a one-year ban if he messed up again. Gordon took to the quotes when asked why things would be different moving forward. He stated, “For the simple fact that there’s no chances. There’s not too many chances really left out there, no room for mistakes for me. It’s either get it right or that’s it.”

Gordon continued, “I feel like it’s a last chance opportunity for the league. Nobody just wants a problematic type of person in their program or their organization because of how they’re perceiver to be. So I definitely want to stay away from controversy as long as I can, forever. That’s definitely my No. 1 priority.”

When asked about the team following his every move he disagreed, “Nobody should be a caretaker for me at this point in my life. I should be seen as a grown man and have the responsibility for the actions I’m taking and I have to look at it that way. I can’t expect to have somebody there for me, to be in my ear to do this and do that. You’ve just got to know right from wrong.”

If you are noticing a trend here with Gordon, that’s because there is one. He continuously shows remorse for his actions and vows to be better, but the simple fact is he has yet to do it. After his suspension and speeding violation last year he stated, “Just being taken away from (the game), it’s a humbling experience for me. You find an appreciation for the game. The absence of it makes the heart grow fonder in a sense. That’s really what it’s about for me right now.”

But Gordon did not continue this appreciation for the game according to reports, as he has reportedly failed yet another ban and will likely face that one-year ban he spoke of before. He blew the “final opportunity” he said the Browns were giving him, and has shown very little to make fans and the team’s front office believe that anything is going to change in the future.

Repeated failed marijuana tests, reckless driving and a failed codeine test have hung a dark cloud over an amazing season which resulted in 87 receptions, 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in just 14 games—and quite possibly what could have been a budding career. Instead of making excuses and attacking the NFL’s marijuana policy the media and fans need to face the simple fact that Gordon just does not and may never truly “get it.”

It is time to stop with the “he’s a kid making kid mistakes” excuses for Gordon. He isn’t making mistakes, he is repeating the same behavior over and over again expecting a different result—something Albert Einstein stated was the definition of insanity in a famous quote.

Gordon isn’t insane, but he is a player who deserves every single bit of the suspension he is about to receive from the NFL. No matter the final number of games he is suspended and the amount of money he loses, nothing can replace the wake-up call he is about to receive from the NFL—one that will likely be his true final chance with the Browns, one way or another.

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