Josh Gordon caught 87 passes (rarely dropping a pass) for a league leading 1646 yards for the Browns during the 2013 regular season. He was the first Browns’ wide receiver to lead the NFL in receiving yards since Mac Speedie did it in 1949. Ironically it is the one thing that Gordon can’t drop—his addiction to drugs—that could cost him such a promising NFL career.
Gordon is reportedly going to be suspended for the entire 2014 season due to failing a drug test. He was already suspended the first two games to start the 2013 for failing a drug test. Under the NFL’s substance abuse policy, Gordon would be banned from the league for one full season with a second failed test.
First off it’s a shame that the situation has come to this. Based on skills alone, Gordon is one of top wide receivers in the NFL. To lead the NFL in receiving yards as a member of the Cleveland Browns’ offense is amazing. Johnny Manziel first round pick aside, recent memories of the Browns have been nothing short of a disaster. Who can forget the Brady Quinn years? Or what about the Tim “would rather be sitting on a couch than playing” Couch years? What in recent memory can Browns’ fans hang their hats on and say they are proud of?
Until Friday, it might’ve been the bright future of Josh Gordon. Now, thanks to some drugs and a great deal of stupidity, Browns’ fans may have nothing to smile about come the start of the 2014 season.
Manziel may well be the Browns’ starting quarterback come Week 1 in Pittsburgh against the Steelers. However Manziel will be nothing if he doesn’t have any receivers to throw the ball to. Look at the wide receivers’ depth chart for Browns. In 2013, the Browns’ leading receiver (after Gordon) was Greg Little, who had 465 yards. They did have TE Jordan Cameron, who caught 80 passes for 917 yards. However one solid Tight End does not make a good offense.
Reportedly the Browns knew for a few weeks that Gordon was going to face a season-long ban from the NFL. Fans would expect that the front office would draft a wide receiver. The Browns had the number four pick. They could’ve went after Sammy Watkins, who caught 1237 yards for Clemson last season and ran a 4.39 at the scouting combine. But no, they traded down out of the number four spot.
Yet, there was another chance to get a good wide receiver on Friday. By this time, the news of Gordon’s possible suspension had already made the air waves. You would think the Browns would go after a wide receiver, right? It was perfect timing too. Marquis Lee, who averaged more than 1200 yards and nearly 10 touchdowns a year in his three seasons at USC, was on the board when the Browns were selecting their first draft pick from Day 2. Selecting Lee makes sense right? I guess according to Browns’ GM Ray Farmer it isn’t.
“I’m not concerned with the depth at wide receiver because we play games in September, and right now there’s still plenty of opportunity for us to acquire players and to make things happen,” Farmer said at a press conference earlier this weekend. “There’s always opportunities to acquire players. From our perspective, that where we’re focused on is using every opportunity to acquire players that become available.”
The Browns did not draft a wide receiver in the 2014. Other than Manziel, the only other draft pick used to bolster the offensive weapons was drafting RB Terrance West in the third round out of Towson.
Let’s be clear. The Browns are not going to pick up any great wide receivers between now and the start of the regular. Pro-Bowl type receivers aren’t like rain drops on a cloudy day; they don’t fall out of the sky. With Gordon’s suspension looming, the Browns are in serious trouble. And while some of the blame should fall on the heads of the Browns’ front office for not addressing the problem at the draft, most if not all of the blame should fall on the shoulders of Josh Gordon.
If Gordon is suspended for the 2014 season, then he should be ashamed. He will be the reason why the Browns’ offense doesn’t improve in 2014. There is a good chance Gordon will go down in history as another athlete with great talent, who threw his career away because of drugs. It is a shame, but hopefully Gordon returns to the team in 2015 with a renewed sense of pride and winning.
He’ll probably have one more chance with the league. To use a baseball term, he’s got two strikes at the plate. One more whiff of drugs and Gordon is out of there. For the sake of Browns’ fans everywhere, let’s hope the situation won’t come to that.