Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon will be missing some more football time. This announcement was received just as his 4 week suspension was coming to an end. It marks more trouble for Browns, but good news for Patriots fans, who play them in week 5.
Josh Gordon released a statement on Thursday, through the Browns. “After careful thought and deep consideration I’ve decided that I need to step away from pursuing my return to the Browns and my football career to enter an in-patient rehabilitation facility.” Gordon then added, “This is the right decision for me and one that I hope will enable me to gain full control of my life and continue on a path to reach my full potential as a person. I appreciate the support of the NFL, NFLPA, the Browns, my teammates, my agent and the community through this extremely challenging process.”
The 6’3” receiver was drafted by the Browns in the 2nd round in 2012. He signed a 4 year, $5.3 million contract. Gordon’s career with the Brown included 161 receptions for 2,754 yards and 14 touchdowns. This was all in the course of the 2 seasons he played.
According to ESPN, Gordon was suspended for the entire 2015 season for multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policies. He was reinstated conditionally on July 25 by commissioner Roger Goodell, though Gordon also was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season.
He was eligible to return this week to face the New England Patriots.
Josh Gordon – What’s Ahead for him?
For now, it remains unclear how long Gordon will remain in treatment. His timetable for returning to professional football is unknown. According to the NFL, the Cleveland Browns have stated they will be releasing Gordon. Their website stated that the development comes after Browns coach Hue Jackson told reporters that the team was looking ahead without Gordon.
“We wish him well,” Jackson said. “We need to close that chapter right now. We’re moving on.”
This issue about NFL players, substance abuse, and the way they handle players with off-field issues brings up a few questions. For one, is it ethical for the Browns to cut Gordon? Most work places offer an employee assistance program, where they get chances to rehabilitate themselves. Maybe Gordon has expended all his chances, and they have given up hope on him? The Browns have certainly had their fair share of players with substance abuse problems. Another big question is whether or not Gordon will play in the NFL again. This remains to be seen. After missing the better part of a year and a half, it’s hard to determine if he would even be productive if he was signed by another team.
Gordon certainly spent a lot of time in the past hanging out with former teammate Johnny Manziel and going to parties. The influence of Manziel on Gordon could also have played a major role in their alcohol usage. Manziel was cut by the Browns after two seasons that were characterized by heavy drinking and other off-field distractions. The two also reportedly lived together for a time.
What more can the NFL do to help players with substance problems?
Is the NFL doing players any favors as they struggle with addiction by continuing to allow them to play? Are typical multi-game suspensions enough, or should they consider mandatory substance abuse treatment for players who have these problems?
The issue at heart has a lot to do with the NFL and owners recouping the cost of signing players. Is this concern about money detrimental to players’ health? For an organization with billions of dollars, you would think the NFL would be more invested in the issue of substance abuse.