The Cleveland Browns reached the breaking point with Josh Gordon, their talented but troubled wide receiver, over the weekend after his late arrival at the team facility Saturday morning, the day after he reportedly hurt his hamstring during a photo and video session for his clothing line and then arrived late.
Gordon, according to The Athletic, had been given permission to participate in a photo session Friday for his “Flash” line, but was participating in what an unnamed source told the outlet was a “hype video” for social media release. He grabbed his hamstring while running a 40-yard dash after about 90 minutes of shooting.
The next morning, he arrived about 10 minutes late for a team meeting, the Athletic reported, and, hours after the training staff ruled him out for Sunday’s game, the Browns announced that they would release him Monday while trying to work out a trade. On Monday, they were able to do so, sending Gordon to the New England Patriots for a 2019 fifth-round pick. (The Browns will give back a 2019 seventh-round pick if Gordon isn’t active for at least 10 games.) Despite his history, reports indicate that multiple teams, perhaps eight to 10, were interested in Gordon, but the Patriots' offer was the best and he is ready to play Sunday night against the Detroit Lions despite the hamstring injury, ESPN reported.
“I hate to make projections and expectations,” quarterback Tom Brady said, addressing Gordon’s off-the-field issues Monday night in his weekly Westwood One interview. “That’s not fair. I’ve never met Josh personally, just like I hadn’t met some of the guys that have come in the last couple of weeks. We’ll see how it goes this week. Hopefully, he can work hard and put the team first and end up helping us in any role that he can find for himself on the team.”
If Gordon flourishes in New England, so be it as far as the Browns are concerned. “We have to do what we think is best for our organization and our football team, and that’s what we did,'' Jackson said (via Cleveland.com). “Josh is no longer here so I do not even want to comment about what could be or what could not have been.''
Jackson informed Browns players of the decision Saturday night and said that “nobody flinched. They understood it. We wish Josh well on his journey. We all love and respect Josh, but we had to do what we felt we had to do as an organization.”
Gordon had seldom played for the Browns over the past couple of years as he dealt with addiction issues and suspension. He missed the start of training camp to focus on his “health and treatment plan,” he said in July.
Gordon, 27, was conditionally reinstated by the NFL last fall after playing in only five games in 2014 and missing all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons as he sought treatment at rehab facilities and attempted unsuccessfully a couple of times to get reinstated by the league. Gordon caught 18 passes for 335 yards and one touchdown in five games last season.
In an interview last fall, Gordon described for GQ the depth of his addiction and said he never played a college or NFL game without first smoking marijuana or drinking hard alcohol. “I used to make a ritual of it before every game,” he said. “If I had already been drug tested that week, or the day before the game, I knew I had a couple days to buy to clean my system. Even before I was getting tested for alcohol, before my DWI in 2014, I would take the biggest bong rip I could. …
“I would have these little pre-made shots. I used to love Grand Marnier. I could drink it down smooth. I could usually drink a lot of it. But if it wasn’t that, it might be a whiskey or something. And I would drink probably like half a glass, or a couple shots to try and warm my system up, basically. To get the motor running. That’s what I would do for games.”
In an Instagram story posted Saturday night, Gordon wrote: “Huge s/o to the city of Cleveland. This place will always feel like home to me. I’m extremely honored and blessed to have been able to grow up and start a life amongst such a passionate and motivated group of individuals. It’s been a hell of a journey with you guys. I wish all of you nothing but the best. Thanks to the @ClevelandBrowns organization for having me, I’ll never forget my time here.
"Same book, next chapter.."
His parting words were: “P.S. Anybody need a deep threat WR??”
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