Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon has not played since 2014. He has missed 59 of the past 64 games. His constant struggle with drugs and alcohol left his future riddled with question marks, and the Browns were quickly moving past their young star receiver. Last year, Gordon checked himself into an in-patient rehabilitation facility, and with that move, many fans began to question if he will ever step on a field again.
After thousands of questions and doubts, Josh Gordon played football again. And on Sunday, it was proven that the Browns star receiver had returned to form, and he hadn’t skipped a beat.
After not playing in a professional football game for over three years, Josh Gordon’s expectations were incredibly hard to pinpoint. It was truly hard to understand if it was more appropriate to have incredibly low expectations or ridiculously high ones. Gordon’s extended absence from the game made it seem like the young receiver was on pace to post average numbers with a stellar performance. However, Josh Gordon does not embody the definition of “average”. In 2013, Gordon’s breakout season, the young receiver led the entire NFL in receiving yards with 1,646 yards, while only playing 14 out of 16 games. He also became the first and only player in NFL history with back-to-back games of 200+ receiving yards.
Gordon’s talent is unquestionable and his athleticism is incredible. He is undoubtedly one of the most unbelievable talents that the NFL has seen in quite some time. The issue is that he has not been seen often. Due to the fact that he’s only played 5 games in the past 3 years, many teams had given up on Gordon. The only team to not give up on him was the Browns, who stuck by their man, even when he hadn’t stepped on the field in 3 seasons.
The Browns knew that one day, Gordon would return to the starting lineup, and once his health was in order, he could tap into the qualities that turned him into a star all those years ago. This past Sunday, Josh Gordon returned to an NFL field where he and the Cleveland Browns traveled to Los Angeles for a matchup with the Chargers. Back in August, anyone who believed that a game between the Chargers and Browns would hold the most intrigue, as well as some of the most interesting storylines of the year, would be flat out insane. And yet, two of the most unlikely candidates to take center stage did just that.
After starting the season with four consecutive losses, the implications for the Chargers were massive as a win would propel them into first place in the AFC West. However, the implications for Gordon, who was playing for a shot at redemption, were tremendous.
Although the Chargers came out on top, Josh Gordon proved he hadn't missed a step. Gordon earned 11 targets and hauled in 4 receptions for 85 yards. It's clear the Browns are looking to get their star receiver back into the mix, and their chances of getting back on a winning track are looking very solid going forward.
It’s still undeniable that the Browns have a very long way to go until they can contend for a Super Bowl championship. However, with Josh Gordon at the helm of the operation, Cleveland might just stand a chance. After years of disappointment and lost hope, the Browns have regained their missing star, and he is poised to shine brighter than ever.