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Josh Gordon to Start for Browns Against Chargers

For the first time since December of 2014, Josh Gordon is going to play in an NFL football game. Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson has announced that Gordon will start (!) at wide receiver this Sunday when the Browns take on the Los Angeles Chargers.

Blessed with prodigious physical talent, Gordon has struggled with addiction issues before he even started playing college football. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Gordon says he was making $10,000 a month selling marijuana while playing for Baylor. He was suspended there for failing a drug test (imagine how big a headache you would have to be for Art Briles to kick you out of the program) and eventually found his way to the NFL's supplemental draft in 2012. He had a transcendent season in 2013, leading the league in receiving yards despite missing two games. (And he did it with Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, and Brian Hoyer at quarterback.) Since the AFL merger in 1970, only Calvin Johnson in 2012 has ever averaged more yards per game in a non-strike season. However, Gordon has been suspended by the NFL or by the Browns on five separate occasions since 2013, following failed tests for marijuana, codeine and alcohol.

After sitting out all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Gordon was conditionally reinstated on November 1, and began practicing with the team on November 20. Should he stay healthy (and clean), he will have five games against the Chargers, Packers, Ravens, Bears, and Steelers to build his resume. He will then be a restricted free agent after the season.

Comments

27 comments, Last at 04 Dec 2017, 2:37pm

1 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by Bright Blue Shorts // Nov 30, 2017 - 4:51pm

Good luck to the guy. Has pretty much missed three of the years when his athletic talent is peaking.

I'd like to hope for him as a person that he's finally past all the addiction stuff but with that many relapses, I'm doubtful it won't reoccur at some point in his life.

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2 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by MilkmanDanimal // Nov 30, 2017 - 5:21pm

This is absolutely one of those "hope for the best, expect the worst" situations; I really, really hope he's gained enough maturity and treatment to where he can deal with his addiction on a daily basis, but it's hard to feel confident. There have to be so many triggers for that behavior in the Browns facility and around Cleveland, so it's got to be a difficult place to try to stay in recovery.

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16 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by Hoodie_Sleeves // Dec 01, 2017 - 3:47pm

I can't help but think that his long term chances would be better if the Browns had released him, and he'd gone to play for the Patriots, or Steelers, or Seahawks, or some other franchise that at-least appears to know what they're doing.

There's a lot more to it, but I can't see a dysfunctional work environment helping.

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20 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by herewegobrowniesherewego // Dec 02, 2017 - 3:35pm

A better QB and organizational situation could help, but oddly enough, by most metrics Gordon had his best games with the first and worst of that Weeden/Campbell/Hoyer trifecta, since Weeden had so many soft zones, but had the arm to connect on the occasional long bomb.

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3 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by Mountain Time ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Nov 30, 2017 - 5:38pm

How do you make $10k/month selling WEED? Was he selling dimes of schwag for $50 or something? I know Texas is a crappy place to live, but even so what college students are dumb enough to go for that?

He has to be lying, $10k is more than 3 lbs of weed, and that's not even counting the money you have to take out to get your next 3 lbs. In contrast, in Colorado, you're allowed to have 2 OUNCES at a time.

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4 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by Cythammer // Nov 30, 2017 - 5:58pm

I have no idea why you would think Texas is a bad place to live. Texas has more people moving to it than any other state, so millions of people don't agree with you.

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5 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by sbond101 // Nov 30, 2017 - 7:31pm

I'm not sure why it's so, but it seems to be conventional wisdom in a lot of places that Texas is a terrible place to live (for example, here in Toronto it's a pretty common viewpoint). When dug into the logic from Canadians seems to be "Texas = American Conservatives = Horrible Judgmental People = Bad place to live", at least from the sample of people in my extended family. Seems to me silly to me, but people think it, not sure if this is common elsewhere?

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10 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by Football Michael Richards // Dec 01, 2017 - 10:22am

As a Torontonian, saying that Texas is a bad place to live because of perceived rural... issues would be like saying Ontario is bad because of Sarnia. Dallas isn't San Antonio, which isn't like Orange, which isn't like Austin...

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12 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by sbond101 // Dec 01, 2017 - 1:14pm

I wasn't arguing it was rational, it's just something people say/think. Personally I have no strong opinion about whether Texas is a nice place to live - except that It would probably be nice to live somewhere I could afford a decent property.

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11 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by Scott P. // Dec 01, 2017 - 1:07pm

I'm from Nebraska and we pretty much hate the perimeter of the country: New York: Bad. Florida: Terrible. Texas: Awful. California: Intolerable.

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17 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by Raiderjoe // Dec 01, 2017 - 4:09pm

and porbably iopposite people who live in those other place s such as me. live in nj. have family in florida. would move to California if made sense career-wise and stuff. ditto florida. not many landlocked states where I would wish to relocate

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6 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by bravehoptoad // Nov 30, 2017 - 7:57pm

It's an awfully big state. Lubbock? Let's just say it's an acquired taste. San Antonio? Pretty darned nice.

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13 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by ChrisS // Dec 01, 2017 - 1:22pm

I think that has more to do with the availability of jobs rather than the desirability of the location. All places have good and bad points, the secret is enjoy the good and ignore the bad.

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14 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by justanothersteve // Dec 01, 2017 - 1:47pm

My sister-in-law genuinely enjoyed living in Dallas, but moved back to GB for family reasons. I recently checked out both Dallas and San Antonio as retirement options and hated both places, but can understand how some would like them. I think it's more a matter of what you want.

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15 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by doktarr // Dec 01, 2017 - 2:53pm

I agree it was a sweeping statement, but come on, "no idea why"?

I can think of a number of nice things about the prospect of living in Texas, including:
- Warm weather
- Relatively cheap housing
- Relatively good employment market (note, these last two fully explain the net migration)
- Cool cultural stuff in many of the urban centers, esp. Austin/San Antonio

But I can also think of a number of reasons I wouldn't want to live in Texas, including:
- Too damn hot a lot of the time
- The same policies that lead to cheap housing lead to long commutes and traffic
- Southern culture isn't my thing/Conservative intolerance, etc
- Fire Ants

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19 Re: Josh Gordon To Start For Browns Against Chargers

by Shattenjager // Dec 02, 2017 - 11:32am

You forgot the biggest negative: the Cowboys.

(And yes this is a joke. I live in a garbage dump. Texas surely isn't any worse.)

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7 Re: Josh Gordon to Start for Browns Against Chargers

by Raiderjoe // Nov 30, 2017 - 9:15pm

hopefully can stop with the substance abuse and also play good again.

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8 Re: Josh Gordon to Start for Browns Against Chargers

by Ferguson1015 // Dec 01, 2017 - 8:36am

Second time in three weeks someone notable has their first start against the Chargers Defense. Here’s hoping it is as effective as the last time.

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9 Re: Josh Gordon to Start for Browns Against Chargers

by Ferguson1015 // Dec 01, 2017 - 8:36am

.

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18 Re: Josh Gordon to Start for Browns Against Chargers

by jtr // Dec 01, 2017 - 6:29pm

Martavis Bryant has been rusty this year after one season off and then a return in time for the preseason. Gordon has had just two weeks of practice to get back into it after three years away from football. Plus he has to learn a new offense and get in sync with a rookie QB. I'm skeptical that he can produce much in the last few weeks of the season, not that the Browns have anything to lose by trying.

The good news for Cleveland is that he will be an Exclusive Rights Free Agent after this season. As far as I can tell from googling byzantine NFL contact terminology, that means they offer him a one year deal of something like $3M and he has no choice but to sign. That buys them another year to evaluate him, or great leverage to lock him up for longer if they really think he's turned his life around.

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21 Re: Josh Gordon to Start for Browns Against Chargers

by herewegobrowniesherewego // Dec 02, 2017 - 3:44pm

"He will then be a restricted free agent after the season."

I thought that this was considered a non-accrued season, as 2014 waa, since he again has less than 6 games, so his 3rd accrued year, barring another suspension, will be next year; as JTR noted in #18, he will be on a "ERFA" contract during said "3rd year."

Not just accounting for how far below typical WR1 market value his vet contract will be due to suspension risk, or accounting for suspended games without pay to date, it's pretty amazing how much money he's already lost from having his next contract not start until his mid-to-late prime.

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22 Re: Josh Gordon to Start for Browns Against Chargers

by jtr // Dec 03, 2017 - 11:26am

As a Browns fan, what's your feeling on how likely Jackson and/or Brown are to get fired this offseason? It could really hurt Gordon (and really just the offense in general) if they end up with a new coach next year. That coach would be even less committed to Kizer than Jackson has been, and you probably end up with a big QB juggle where the new coach puts in a half-hearted effort to work with Kizer before benching him midseason for His Guy, which tends to be a low drafted rookie or a backup qb from new coach's last team. All of which would mean for bad offense and bad QB play, which would make it very hard for Gordon to distinguish himself in his prove-it season before his first chance to hit free agency.

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23 Re: Josh Gordon to Start for Browns Against Chargers

by herewegobrowniesherewego // Dec 03, 2017 - 2:46pm

Kizer is likely a lame duck at this point regardless, as Colt McCoy was by mid-2011, Weeden by early 2013, etc. Regardless of whether it's Sashi Brown, Peyton Manning, etc. making the picks this coming April, they're not going to pass over a QB with a top-2 pick 3 years in a row.

It is very difficult to tell what the Berea org chart will look like after this season, as the Haslams have indicated patience with a long-term, 76ers-style rebuild, but Hue is showing the same types of power struggle issues i.e. the "need a perfect game to win" quote, that led to his departure from Oakland, and the McCarron trade fiasco left egg on everyone's face. Many are wondering if there is a way to keep Gregg Williams on staff with Hue gone, i.e. as interim and then head coach, with someone with the same system like Singletary as DC. Others are looking for more cooks in the kitchen, i.e. Peyton Manning - who is close with the Haslams and was recently in town, albeit only for a Congressional fundraiser for Anthony Gonzales - and making Hue get an OC.

What we also know is that the players are not mailing it in under Hue as is common for struggling teams.

As far as Gordon adjusting to a new scheme, didn't seem to affect him in 2013; the best seem to not be affected much by these sorts of changes - see Joe Thomas, and Alex Mack when he was here.

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24 Re: Josh Gordon to Start for Browns Against Chargers

by Bright Blue Shorts // Dec 03, 2017 - 3:12pm

I used to believe in giving coaches time to build but when you go almost winless in back-to-back seasons I have to question if the coach is up to it. Jacksonville wasted 5 years on Gus Bradley and look at what they've got now. Likewise the Rams and Jeff Fisher.

The Jets were destined to go 0-16 this year with the worst roster in the league yet somehow Todd Bowles has got them competitive this year. They won't be making the playoffs but he's shown something with what was supposed to be a crappy roster.

The tough part is that the Browns have repetitively scrapped coaches after 1-2 seasons so getting rid of Hue just looks like a continuation of that. Seems to me that they need to look at their hiring process and organisational (dys)functionality.

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25 Re: Josh Gordon to Start for Browns Against Chargers

by herewegobrowniesherewego // Dec 03, 2017 - 4:39pm

"The Jets were destined to go 0-16 this year with the worst roster in the league yet somehow Todd Bowles has got them competitive this year"

Agree, Bowles has been the biggest reason the Jets haven't been as bad as on paper the last several years.

Their sort-of-success with McCown raises the question: Given the Browns pass DVOA is -37.4% - 17 behind the Colts for last! - and the Jets are 21st at 2.9%, with the Browns' other phases of the game really not being that bad on balance - rushing 5th, rush D 2nd, pass D 27th, special teams 29th - should the Browns have kept McCown on board at least one more year, to allow Kizer to "sit and learn" ?

Of course, there are all of the other what-ifs, most recently passing over Carson Wentz and then DeShaun Watson. Really, the what-ifs can be traced back at least to Kellen Winslow over Ben Roethlisberger, and Tim Couch over Donovan McNabb...

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26 Re: Josh Gordon to Start for Browns Against Chargers

by MC2 // Dec 04, 2017 - 1:44am

It's kind of ironic. The Browns are supposed to be embracing a new school, "analytic" approach. Yet according to DVOA, their biggest strengths -- their only strengths, to be honest -- are running the ball and stopping the run -- which is the epitome of the old school, "conventional wisdom" approach.

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27 Re: Josh Gordon to Start for Browns Against Chargers

by Richie // Dec 04, 2017 - 2:37pm

What makes you confident that the players aren't mailing it in? What does mailing it in look like? How often do teams actually mail it in?

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