NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has reinstated wide receiver Josh Gordon for the sixth time. Gordon, the former Baylor Bears standout and second-round selection of the Cleveland Browns back in 2012, has spent more time in his career on the commissioner’s Exempt List than he has on the field.
Former All-Pro WR Josh Gordon, who is being reinstated, is planning to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs, sources tell ESPN. His agents, Eric Dounn and Matt Leist from @LAASportsEnt, confirmed Gordon is headed to Kansas City. pic.twitter.com/nqpJXn3oni
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 27, 2021
History Of Drug Abuse Mental Health Challenges
Gordon, who has a history of substance and performance-enhancing drug abuse, has been suspended since December 2019 after violation of the league’s performance-enhancing and substance abuse policies. It’s the sixth time he has been banned by the league.
Gordon is a wildly talented receiver whose inability to lay off the weed was often made light of by Stephen A. Smith until it was discovered that Gordon has mental health issues spurred on by childhood trauma and other emotional challenges.
Gordon’s acceptance of his demons and the NFL’s understanding of his condition is why he has continuously been let back into the league after violating policies dating back to 2014. He just hasn’t been able to stay clean.
Gordon’s drug and substance abuse didn’t begin in the league, as he was suspended while at Baylor in 2011 for a failed drug test. The indefinite suspension caused the talented but troubled wideout to transfer to Utah. Gordon never played a single down for the Utes.
In just his second season in the NFL, Gordon broke out and led the league in receiving yards in 2013. He was named to the Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro.
But following that breakout season, the wheels began to come off and he’d only play in 11 games over the next four seasons, due to multiple substance-abuse suspensions. In fact, he missed the 2015-16 seasons altogether.
There was never a question in his abilities. He led the NFL in receiving yards with Rob Chudzinski calling plays, and Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer throwing him the ball in Cleveland. That was a terrible situation, but he thrived.
His special talents earned him comebacks with the Patriots in 2017 and the Seahawks as recently as 2019.
Gordon proved that he could still go get it, grabbing 27 receptions for 426 yards in 11 games between the two teams, but his mental health and substance abuse issues got the best of him again.
Sixth Time Is A Charm
Back in March Gordon was Mossin’ dudes in the fledgling Fan Controlled Football League. A long way from NFL Sundays.
In July, right before teams began to report for training camp, Gordon received some great news. His sixth reinstatement was approved late last week, and right away his name began to circulate among teams needing receiver help.
Patrick Mahomes and The Kansas City Chiefs, sitting at a surprising (1-2), signed him right away. Gordon, who has more lives than a cat, will be playing for his third Super Bowl-winning quarterback and future Hall of Famer. Brady, Wilson, and now The Magic Man in K.C. You’d have to believe that the sixth time’s a charm for Gordon.
Your first look at Chiefs WR Josh Gordon, No. 19. pic.twitter.com/v30iApVdNZ
— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) September 29, 2021
Gordon is still relatively young in age and body with all the time missed, so he should be able to help a K.C. passing game devoid of a true No. 2 receiver to complement speedster Tyreek Hill. Football aside, let’s hope he’s gotten the help needed to beat this disease that he’s fought with for years.
New Day, New Approach
What’s going to go differently for Gordon this time? He even admits in a 2019 Forbes interview that beyond his addictions, his inner circle has compounded his problems and lack of maturity.
“I have been enabled most of my lifetime, honestly,” Gordon said. “I have been enabled by coaches, teachers, professors. You know, everybody pretty much gave me a second chance because of my ability.”
Gordon also referenced an assistant coach at Baylor who helped him cheat on a drug test after he was detained for marijuana possession. “That was my first real experience with getting over the system,” the receiver said.
Gordon said he would receive up to six pounds of marijuana each week through the mail and estimated he made “upward of $10,000” per month from selling it in cities around the state of Texas, including Dallas and Austin.
With age comes wisdom, and Gordon has had hundreds of therapy sessions and self-evaluation moments. Maybe he can finally handle his demons and do things the right way. He’ll get plenty of chances with the pass-happy Chiefs and the best QB in the business.