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Playing for Redemption: Josh Gordon’s Return to Football

Second chances aren’t uncommon in the NFL. Third chances on the other hand are rare, and fourth chances are almost unheard of.

Cleveland Brown’s receiver, Josh Gordon, has amassed a number of suspensions during his time in the NFL, due to drugs, alcohol, and misconduct; yet after a recent lifting of his suspension, Gordon will have one last chance to save his career.

Gordon established himself as one of the NFL’s top talents at his position after posting over 2,400 yards receiving in his first two seasons in the league. Gordon also became the first player in NFL history to post back-to-back 200+ yard receiving games.

Yet the seemingly promising legacy Gordon started to build in 2012 was quickly tarnished after several violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy beginning in 2013. Starting with just a two-game suspension for the start of the 2013 season, Gordon would play the remaining 14 games of the 2013-14 season before running into more trouble. After a DWI charge and two more violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, Gordon would only play five games in the 2014-15 season before being suspended indefinitely for the entirety of the 2015-2016 season and the start of this season as well.

Gordon’s mishaps in the NFL were not unexpected however.

During his sophomore year at Baylor, Gordon was found asleep with teammate Willie Jefferson in Jefferson’s car one night at a Taco Bell drive-through with marijuana in the car. After facing a suspension for the incident, Gordon was then suspended indefinitely by the Baylor head coach after a failed drug test just before his junior year.

Gordon would transfer to Utah for his junior year, however would never play for the Utes before getting drafted in the 2011 NFL Supplementary Draft.

So after a career riddled with mishaps up to this point, the questions surrounding his return are plentiful, one of the biggest ones being: What makes this time any different?

For starters, the Browns have done a good job at creating a better environment for Gordon to play in. After starting counseling and the Browns’ riddance of problematic quarterback, Johnny Manziel, the odds of Gordon’s success have gone up quite a bit.

Manziel, the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, was detrimental to Gordon. The two have been seen many times partying together, including one party that resulted in $32,000 in damages to a rental house in Los Angeles. And while the two still hang out, it is not destructive to Gordon’s career now as he seems to recognize what consequences could come as a result of his actions with Manziel.

So with just four games left on his suspension carrying over from last season, Gordon is finally ready to see action.

What Gordon makes of what is most likely his final shot at an NFL career is entirely up to him; but with the Browns’ organization and the city of Cleveland supporting him, there is hope for the former All-Pro yet.

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