Browns Josh Gordon is good, but is he worth the trouble?

Courtesy of USA Today Sports

Courtesy of USA Today Sports

Josh Caleb Gordon is a wide receiver in the National Football League.  If he puts forth the effort, he could be a top 1o receiver in the league; the key phrase is put forth the effort, not for what he does on the football field but what he does when he is not playing.  He cannot keep himself out of trouble when he has free time.

Gordon was arrested on a charge of driving while impaired in Raleigh, N.C., early Saturday morning. Raleigh Police spokesman Jim Sughrue told USA TODAY Sports that Gordon was pulled over just before 3 a.m. for driving 50 mph in a 35 mph zone, and was subsequently arrested for DWI.  The Browns receiver is scheduled to be in Wake County court on Aug. 26.

Josh Gordon was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft.  You ask why was he in the Supplemental Draft if he’s that good?  Gordon accepted an athletic scholarship to play at Baylor University.  However in October 2010, during his sophomore year, he and teammate Willie Jefferson were found asleep at a local fast food restaurant.  Police found marijuana in Jefferson’s car.   Because it was his second violation, Jefferson was kicked off the team.  Gordon was only suspended.

The second violation came in July of 2011 when Gordon failed a drug test by testing positive for marijuana.  Baylor’s head coach Art Briles put him on indefinite suspension.  The following month Gordon transferred to the University of Utah; he planned to be in the 2011 Supplemental Draft, but he waited too late and sat out the entire season.

Gordon signed a 4 year, $5.3 million deal with the Browns.  In his rookie season,  he finished among the top rookie receivers in the 2012 draft class. He finished with 50 catches, for 805 yards, and 5 touchdowns.

Before the start of his sophomore season in the NFL, first sign of trouble on the professional level came up.  On June 7, 2013, the NFL announced that Gordon would be suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season due to violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.  In Week 12, Gordon had 237 receiving yards and in week 13, 261 yards. It marked the first time in NFL history a wide receiver had consecutive 200-yard receiving games.  On December 26, 2013, He was named PFWA Player of the Year following the season and Gordon was voted to his first Pro Bowl Selection.  Gordon finished the 2013 season as the NFL’s leader in receiving yards, with 1,646 yards and was named First-Team All-Pro alongside the Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson.

The Browns did a great job in the draft by setting up a superior offense that included the well-known quarterback coming out of Texas A&M, “Johnny Football” Manziel.  I said during the end of the season that the Browns could be a monster in the NFL if they could get a solid quarterback.  It looked like they were on that path, but trouble popped up its sinister head and starting to pull Josh Gordon down.  On May 9, 2014, reports stated that Gordon could be suspended for the entire 2014 season because of a 2nd failed drug test. Gordon filed an appeal which will have a court date set in late July.  It will be hard for Gordon to fight the suspension now with the alleged DUI on his record.  We know Commissioner Roger Goodell is not going to look at this lightly because he is all about “protecting the shield”.

So what should the Browns do?  Stick with the potential of Gordon and give him another chance or cut their losses and work with what they have?

“We are aware of the matter and are disappointed to learn of this situation,” Browns general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement. “We will comment further at the appropriate time.”

The Browns should have answers by late July on what kind of suspension Gordon will be facing in 2014 and if it’s a one-year ban. A one-year suspension would mean Gordon has to stay away from the team’s facilities all season and that’s where the concern comes in. From Cleveland.com:

Sources close to Gordon have told Cleveland.com they’re concerned that if he’s away from the team for a year and away from his support system, that he’ll have a tough time making it back into the NFL. The sources point to Jaguars receiverJustin Blackmon, the former first-round pick, who was suspended indefinitely in November of 2013 for violating the substance abuse policy and isn’t expected to be re-instated in 2014.

The Browns might be preparing for the worst for Gordon.  They did not draft a wide receiver in May, but added veteran free agents Nate Burleson, Andrew Hawkins, Miles Austin and Anthony Armstrong in the spring. They join a group that also includes two players, Charles Johnson and Travis Benjamin, who are recovering from ACL injuries. Former teammate D’Qwell Jackson said it best for the future of Gordon in a tweet following the latest arrest.

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