The Curse of Josh Gordon
On July 12, 2012, the National Football League held its annual Supplemental Draft. 1 player and 1 player only was drafted that day. In the second round, troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon from Baylor (Utah) was drafted by General Manager Tom Heckart. The day after the pick, Albert Breer at ESPN said this: "the Cleveland Browns bought that Gordon has grown up."
Grown up? You mean after a minimum of 3 failed drug tests at Baylor and Utah? Trouble in high school? Suspensions from the football team? Nice gamble Browns. "But he has elite talent," they would say. I would say Josh Gordon has cursed the Browns....
Unbeknownst to the front office during the summer of 2012, absentee owner Randy Lerner was negotiating with Pittsburgh Steelers minority owner Jimmy Haslem to buy the team. The sale went through on August 2, 2012 and I remember the stunned look on Coach Pat Shurmur's face at Training Camp when the news was announced. He knew he was a dead man walkin'.
Josh Gordon had 50 catches for 800 or so yards that year as the Browns finished in last. Off the field, a Browns' employee killed himself in the parking lot that December, then Jimmy Haslem fired almost everyone. GM, coach, staff, secretaries, really anyone he could get his hands on. There was a new sheriff in town.
Josh Gordon was a focal point going into the 2013 season, but Gordon failed a drug test and was suspended the first 2 games. Josh Gordon was then suspended for parts of the next 4 seasons.
Browns Record while Gordon Suspended:
2015: 3-13 (rumored 5th failed drug test)
2016: 1-15 (rumored 6th failed drug test)
2017: 0-4 (so far)
If you do some simple math, that's a 10-39 record while your elite talent was god-knows-where. Every single person associated with drafting Gordon is gone. GM's came and went. Coaches came and went. Players came and went. I think the Browns had 2 or 3 dozen quarterbacks walk through the doors of Berea during that time.
Let me be crystal clear, the NFL has a piss-poor weak union and Josh Gordon could have been CUT at anytime over the past 5 years, but the Browns thought of him as an asset. They could have traded him on multiple occasions, but remember 2013? He was an elite talent. So since Jimmy Haslem has come to town, the Browns aren't about football players as much as unicorns and leprechauns.
Josh Gordon is the NFL equivalent of Magic Beans.
Why do I bring this up? The Cleveland Browns' Minister of Information, Mary Kay Saeed al-Sahaf is reporting that Josh Gordon has cleaned up his act, he's promoting a new documentary, and he's ready to play for the Browns.
The second he is re-instated, TRADE HIM.
If no one gives you anything. CUT HIM.
The Browns have literally given the guy who would rather do drugs than play football more chances than anyone in the organization since its return in 1999. For 5 years we've heard about second-hand smoke, cold medicine, and inconsistent urine samples. Gordon has now admitted that he did a TON of DRUGS while the Browns were spiraling down the toilet. Now that he's teetering on bankruptcy, he's good to go.
I'm sorry, but since Haslem has bought the team, I can't think of ANYONE who deserved extra chances less than Josh Gordon. (Uh, I take that back.... OTHER THAN JOHNNY MANZIEL, I can't think of anyone who deserved extra chances less than Josh Gordon.)
Let me take another slightly different angle. Future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas has played 10,000 snaps in a row for the Brown. The Cleveland Browns have lost in spite of, not because of, Joe Thomas. At some point you have think of Thomas as a hostage of the Browns as opposed to feeling that Joe Thomas is an asset for the Browns. Somehow, someway, the Browns almost traded Thomas away 2 years ago. So the only other person I can think of who's been here since Jimmy Haslem bought the team, Joe Thomas, wouldn't have been on the team if the Broncos had parted with an additional second-rounder?
The Browns would have traded Joe Thomas for the 2016 Broncos first-round pick, which has turned into Paxton Lynch. Lynch is doing such a bang up job that the Broncos picked up Brock Osweiler to compete for the Broncos' back up job. Yes, the same Osweiler who was just cut by the Browns because he wasn't "better" than the 3 quarterbacks on their roster.
Joe Thomas for a rumored Paxton Lynch and Adam Gotsis, who grew up playing Australian Rules Football, would have been an abject disaster strewn across a line of catastrophic disasters. Now Saeed al-Sahaf would say that the Browns would have taken better players with those two picks. NO THEY WOULDN'T HAVE. They would have used the picks for worse players or more picks.
So the Browns nearly traded Joe Thomas, who bleeds brown and orange, yet Gordon is still part of the team?
This is the same Jimmy Haslem who went back in time and wanted his crack to fire Bernie Kosar, too. (The Browns fired Kosar as a preseason broadcaster in 2014.)
Since 2012, outside of Thomas, the only common denominators are Haslem and Gordon. Two peas in a pod. A billionaire who runs his football team like a analytics business and Josh Gordon, who wants to get paid, but not play.