(Photo by Sporting News)
While the Cleveland Browns commence their football season with two former read-option phenoms, one at quarterback (Robert Griffin III) and the other at wide receiver (Terrelle Pryor), many might be getting their hopes up over the imminent return of recently suspended wide receiver, Josh Gordon.
Why not? He is a 6’4” specimen that was the 2013 NFL receiving yardage leader (1646) in fourteen games and, supposedly, has a long career ahead of him at twenty-five years of age.
But after Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland told ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio on NBC Sports Radio that Gordon appeared “noticeably out of shape” at a recent Browns practice, it is better to hold the breaks on any enthusiasm over the controversial receiver’s comeback.
In addition, Grossi also mentioned how former Baylor head coach Art Briles told the ex-Bear to lose some weight and presumably concluded that he “seems very far away from his Pro Bowl year [in 2013].”
Being associated with these listed characteristics should be no surprise as much of this has been evident over the past two calendar years. In 2015, I had written about how Gordon reportedly “showed up out-of-shape” and thus messed up what could have been the career season of quarterback Brian Hoyer’s in 2014.
Even if it was Hoyer, he still caught a disappointing seventeen of thirty-six passes for 210 yards and no touchdowns in their three games together and seven out of eleven passes for 93 yards in two with the quarterback that many of you wanted playing all along, Johnny Manziel. Subsequently, former Browns safety and teammate, Donte Whitner, revealed in March how the receiver ballooned to 255 pounds while under suspension.
It seems as if suspensions create the worst environment for Gordon as his young adult mistakes seem to get the best of him. Much of this is understandable as age 25 has become the new time of immaturity, and, like the significant others that left us, the withdrawals of football’s essences turned his life upside down.
So do not be surprised if Pryor takes over the second receiver spot while Gordon could play the same role that Dwayne Bowe played last year, none. As a receiver that must depend on speed, he cannot have excess weight, and with his current quadriceps injury, getting in shape will have to wait. Sadly, that could mean the end of Gordon’s career. After all, if he gets no playing time while already being an off-field risk, there is no need to pick him up when his dedication is unseen and younger players can replace him at any time.