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.