Josh Gordon’s Return Brings Hope to More than Football Fans

Updated: November 30, 2017

The Cleveland Browns need a shot of adrenaline that can only be provided by a player possessing wide receiver Josh Gordon’s abilities. We’re all hungry for some excitement to fill our Sunday afternoons. It’s been a long season and we still have five games left.

Gordon has been an enigma since he was drafted by the Browns in the second round of the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft. His talent is unquestioned. We saw the poetry that Gordon was capable of producing on the football field in 2013 when he led the NFL in receiving yards with 1,646, while only playing 12 games. He set a record with 498 receiving yards over two games. Keep in mind that the Browns played Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer at QB in 2013.

Not everyone in Cleveland is pulling for Josh Gordon to do well. Many see him as a criminal who has been given far too many chances. It is disturbing to hear that Gordon has yet to play in an NFL game without being chemically impaired. It may bother people, even more, to know that Gordon was hauling in $10,000 monthly selling drugs while in college. Deep down, I believe that most people are pulling for Josh for the right reasons.

This is Cleveland, Ohio. In Cleveland, we root for the underdog and we believe in hard work paying off. Bring your lunch pail to work, bust your butt and make yourself better. It’s who we are. We live in a state that has been devastated by the opioid epidemic. We’ve also been arguing over legalizing medical marijuana for a long time. Football used to be a getaway, but nowadays it’s closer to mirroring real life. We’ve dealt with the national anthem issue, now it’s time to focus on addiction issues.

Ohio has seen overdose deaths more than quadruple since 2004. It has affected far more people than we ever could have imagined just a short time ago. Chris McNeil (@Reflog_18) lost his cousin Sam McNeil to this crisis.

“The opioid crisis has gone from completely off the radar 3 years ago for me to a point where it has taken a family member and affected everyone I know in some way. I’ve had people reach out to me many times on twitter with their own stories of either their own struggles or those of people close to them. Truly sad.”

The whole issue of addiction and whether people see it as a criminal act and choice or as an illness is what is at stake. Bruce Kenerson (@brucekenerson1) had this to say about the battle that Josh Gordon has been fighting and will continue to fight.

“I’m a recovering addict and I can’t trust myself. I can’t tell you how many times I have known in my head I shouldn’t do something, but I did it anyway. Hopefully, he can surround himself with supportive people.”

Bruce shared with me that he isn’t what people think of when the picture an addict. He’s a graduate of Duke who grew up in a privileged town. “Anyone can become an addict,” he said.

His message to young people:

“You can’t become an addict if you don’t try it. You have a choice, but if you choose to try, even if you think that won’t happen to me. It might.”

Josh Gordon is 6’3”, 225 and is built like an Adonis. That alone has been enough to get him through a lot in his life. He has been used for his athletic ability when he should have been helped. Here’s hoping that he has the proper support system in place to help him fight his addiction. Not only do the Browns need his help, Ohio needs help in the fight against drug addiction. Maybe Josh Gordon can help bring hope to those affected by this epidemic.

Follow the author: @CSTRodB

Photo: ESPN

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