Here he goes, again.
ESPN is reporting that talented but troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon will be suspended for the final game of the 2014 NFL season against the Baltimore Ravens, effectively ending a year in which Gordon didn’t see much playing time. The team, in a written statement, said Gordon had been suspended for missing Saturday’s team walkaround practice. Wide receiver Phil Bates has been promoted from the practice squad to fill Gordon’s role.
This completes a rather tumultuous year for the second-year receiver from Baylor. Gordon was previously suspended for two games last season for team violations. This year, Gordon missed 10 games due to failing a marijuana test. He was scheduled to miss the entire 2014 season, but rules changes brought about a reduction in his suspension.
Gordon, the NFL’s leading receiver in 2013 with 1,646 yards, was not able to recreate the propensity he showed for getting open and making the same circus catches he did last year.
Gordon is under contract to the Browns for 2015, and would be owed $1.068 million. He finishes 2014 with 24 catches for 303 yards and no touchdowns.
ESPN also reports that Gordon and Johnny Manziel were missing from Saturday’s walkaround with the Browns. Neither could be located, either. Friday, Gordon showed up to practice wearing teammate Travis Benjamin’s jersey for some reason.
It is not certain that Manziel was to be at the walkaround on Saturday, since he is out for the rest of the year with a hamstring injury.
The Browns now have one less target for undrafted rookie Conner Shaw to throw to on the field. Shaw is starting in place of the injured Manziel and Brian Hoyer.
This brings up an important issue, career-wise, for Gordon. To accrue a year’s service in order to achieve free agency, a player must play at least six games in a season. Due to suspensions, Gordon has only played five. However, he can petition the NFL Player’s Union to see if they will accommodate him.
The Browns now have a major decision to make regarding Gordon. He has shown that, when he puts his mind to it, he can be one of the top receivers in the game. But, as his history proves, too many off-field problems keep him from reaching his potential. He is talented, to be sure, but lacks the discipline to make the most of his talents.
Is it possible that Gordon, for all his talent, is just not worth the struggle of keeping him off the field?