Josh Gordon‘s abrupt exit from the New England Patriots may have involved more than just his injury issues.
Late last month, the Patriots slapped the IR designation on the wide receiver, starting the process that led to his release this week and subsequent waiver claim by the Seattle Seahawks. While the lingering injury issues may have been what initially sparked the move, a new report from PFT Live (via NESN) hints that the oft-troubled star may have fallen back into some troubling behavioral habits.
Gordon, who has been suspended a number of times for violating the league’s substance abuse policies, appeared to be back on the straight and narrow path with the Patriots this year as he stayed out of trouble. But NBC Sports Boston‘s Tom E. Curran said that there may have been some behind-the-scenes issues bubbling between Gordon and the team.
Curran noted that he was just hearing “murmurs” of issues, but said that Gordon wasn’t being prompt and punctual, showing up late to team meetings and at times disappearing where the team could not find him. While that may not be unusual for any other NFL player, the Patriots reportedly had the team security staff keeping close tabs on Gordon as he tried to recover from his substance abuse issues.
Curran hinted that these may have been issues the Patriots could overlook when Gordon was performing at a top level, but when his production fell this year and the team had highly coveted rookie N’Keal Harry waiting to come back form injury, it hastened Gordon’s exit from New England. Gordon has 20 catches for 287 yards and one touchdown this season, falling well below his career averages in most areas.
“So that in-dependability, coupled with the fact that he wasn’t extremely productive really when he was in there,” Curran said, referring to what the Patriots looked at before letting Gordon go. “They had N’Keal Harry coming back, they had just acquired Mohamed Sanu, and I think there was trepidation about, ‘OK, well if we’re looking at this again, do we want to rely on him?’ I think he had a very short rope that he was dealing with.”
The issues could have put off some other teams as well. When Gordon hit the waiver wire this week, a total of 27 teams decided to give him a pass and didn’t put a waiver claim in on him. Gordon ended up being claimed by the Seattle Seahawks, who sat at No. 28 in the league’s waiver order.