I’m tired of talking about second chances for Josh Gordon.
It’s been discussed so many times, and it always ends the same. Gordon runs into trouble, gets an opportunity to redeem himself and some way or another ends up missing games or, lately, seasons. Every chapter of the saga ends with “this time the Cleveland Browns really have to cut bait.”
I’ve stopped counting how many times I’ve covered this never-ending story. I, like many others, have said (fill in incident here) should be the last straw for Gordon, that this time the Browns need to finally part ways with their troubled receiver.
Well, if everyone’s tired of talking Gordon’s chances in Cleveland, I’ve got some bad news for you. The receiver is once again working on getting reinstated with the NFL, and he’s still under contract with the Browns. As a result, if he’s indeed allowed back in the league, Cleveland again has to decide if he deserves another chance.
On the surface, the Browns’ choice looks easy.
Gordon hasn’t played a regular season game since 2014. He was suspended for all of 2015 thanks to yet another run in with league drug policy. He hasn’t played a full season in five years. If you can read all of this and find even the slightest semblance of reality, more power to you.
However, before you jump to the same “cut bait” conclusion you usually do when it comes to Gordon, there are two things the Browns have to consider.
One, unlike years previous where his absence was a result of a suspension, the wideout voluntarily stepped away last season. Just one week from being reinstated, Gordon made the choice to enter in-patient rehab. As a result, you technically can’t view this latest instance as more proof he can’t be trusted. Instead, he made the decision to get help for himself, a choice he shouldn’t be admonished for.
In addition to this, Gordon caught plenty of attention yesterday when posting the below picture on Instagram and giving everyone a look at the kind of shape he’s in.
Say what you will about his life choices, he at the very least looks physically ready to get back on the field.
However, is it all enough for the Browns to reconsider their current plans should Gordon be reinstated?
Initial reports indicate Cleveland intentds to get rid of him, either by release or trade, if he’s indeed allowed back in the league. The team has offered numerous olive branches to Gordon, yet nothing has ever panned out. It’d be completely understandable if the Browns were finally ready to wash their hands of him.
At the same time, they’re low on talent at wideout. New addition Kenny Britt doesn’t exactly fill the shoes of the departed Terrelle Pryor, while none of the numerous receivers drafted last year have shown much potential outside of Corey Coleman. With Gordon being both young (25) and cheap (under contract for just over $1 million next season), what’s the harm in bringing him to camp?
Of course, we’ve asked that before, haven’t we?
In the end, the Browns have two options, each ripe with potential to backfire.
They could keep him, but therefore risk another case of Gordon showing up, showing intrigue and then showing himself the door with another league run-in. Likewise, they could oust him, watch another team take a flyer on him and find out he actually does have his head on straight this time. Lord knows everyone would relish the opportunity to mock Cleveland should Gordon return to his Pro Bowl self on another roster.
Personally, I think it’s too early to make a call. The Browns need to do their due diligence, meet with Gordon and come to a conclusive decision on whether or not he’s worth one last opportunity. He’s certainly been untrustworthy in the past, but with so much potential there for the taking, there might be significant risk in giving up on him.
Has Gordon burned too many bridges in Cleveland? Yes. Would he be a huge addition to the Browns if playing to his full potential? Absolutely.
We’ll leave it up to the team to determine which of those statements is more important.