If you’re like me, you were relaxing this Saturday evening watching college football, contemplating the potential outcome of the Alvarez/Golovkin fight tonight. LSU upset Auburn. Alabama was walking all over Ole Miss. I was happy to be watching games where I didn’t have a horse in the race, stress-free so to speak. Then reality happened as I was jolted from my seat…the Browns release Josh Gordon. It was a jarring moment less than an hour ago which injected a flurry of emotions in this Cleveland fan.
Announcing tonight the impending release of Gordon, Browns GM John Dorsey released the following statement, “This afternoon we informed Josh Gordon and his representatives that we are going to release him on Monday. For the past six years, the Browns have fully supported and invested in Josh, both personally and professionally and wanted the best for him, but unfortunately, we’ve reached a point where we feel it’s best to part ways and move forward. We wish Josh well.”
It’s no secret what Gordon has gone through the last three years. His substance addiction, whether to drugs, alcohol or both, has been well documented in the press, but no one can accuse the Browns as an organization for not being loyal to this über talented athlete. In all honesty, I cannot name any other scenario in any of the four big sports where a team spent so much of their time and resources on a single player in hopes of weathering the storm and getting their man back on the field. It’s especially surprising since the Browns stuck with Gordon through what feels like a decade (reality dictates less time of course) only to cut ties after one game of the 2018 season.
But is it really surprising?
There’s that initial shock that he’s no longer part of the team. Then after a few minutes, that eroded and gave way to the recent memories of frustration when Gordon repeated his addiction-related behavior again and again. I am not athletically gifted in the same galaxy that Gordon was. If I had his route-running prowess, his hands of glue and physical stature, you can bet I would work my tail off to maintain my career in the NFL. It’s absolutely head-scratching watching someone with his abilities squander all that talent. I’ll just come out and say it. Were consistency on his agenda, Gordon could have been a Hall of Famer.
That will never happen now.
Now back to Dorsey’s statement. There are four words that may, on the surface, seem to be a string of supporting professional dialogue in announcing Gordon’s departure. However, “we’ve reached a point” is more like a dagger, thrown with calculating precision. Those words are a veil of anger, frustration and a telltale sign that something more than just Gordon reporting late to the team Saturday morning was the lone issue. If Josh Gordon were an animal, he’d be a cat for having nine lives with not just the Browns, but the NFL in general. You can scratch number nine off the list as the once record-setting wide receiver threw his career in a bonfire and proceeded to dance around it.
Whether it was a pulled hamstring at a photo shoot or tardiness to team responsibility, there are too many past issues that brought us all to this point. Perhaps another team will take a wide-eyed leap at Josh Gordon, eager to add the receiver to their roster. Perhaps there’s a grand understanding amongst owners and GM’s in the league that they would have never tolerated the ongoing addiction struggles that Gordon fought/indulged/experienced. Either way, football longevity is off the table for his future and at the end of the day, he has only himself to blame.