Josh Gordon likely didn’t fail a drug test before the surprise announcement that he was being cut by the Cleveland Browns, but reports indicate that the team did fear he may have relapsed into drugs.
On Saturday, the team announced that they planned on cutting the wide receiver on Monday, after having stood by him for three years of suspension and failed drug tests. While there was immediate speculation that Gordon may have failed yet another drug test — which would lead to an indefinite ban that could be for life — reporter Benjamin Allbright tweeted that doesn’t appear to be the case.
“To my knowledge there was no new failed test from Josh Gordon, though I’m making some calls now,” Allbright wrote on Twitter. “He was late to report this morning.”
Instead, the team decided to cut Josh Gordon after he was late to practice on Saturday and was “not himself,” beat writer Mary Kay Cabot tweeted. He reportedly tweaked the hamstring during a promotional shoot and had not informed the team of the injury.
The late practice and his reported caginess about the hamstring injury led to fears within the organization that Gordon may have fallen back into substance abuse, Cabot added.
“A source told Cleveland.com that the mysterious hamstring pull was an issue, but that trust was the bigger factor with one Gordon, and that the Browns felt they couldn’t rely on him from a sobriety standpoint,” Cabot wrote in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The Browns confirmed their plans to cut Gordon in a tweet on Saturday night.
“This afternoon we informed Josh Gordon and his representatives that we are going to release him on Monday,” Browns GM John Dorsey said in a statement. “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.”
The timing of cutting Gordon on Monday means he will receive a final game check from the team, which many saw as a sign of good faith toward the player.
Though he has shown flashes of brilliance, Gordon has struggled with personal issues and failed drug tests. He has been suspended for 56 of a possible 97 games across his six-year career.
Updated: #Browns Gordon showed up late to the facility on Saturday morning and was 'not himself.' Red flag for possible substance use was the concern of some in the org, sources tell clevelanddotcom https://t.co/KMdBeX9JVO— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) September 15, 2018
If it is true that Josh Gordon didn’t fail a drug test, he could find a new NFL home very soon. The Cleveland Plain Dealer report noted that several teams have expressed interest in signing him.