No matter how talented a player is, they are never exempt from following the rules the NFL has set in place. Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon is poster boy for this. Gordon is coming off two separate suspensions that have kept him out the NFL for two-years. For most athletes not named Michael Jordan, that is an eternity.
“I have big plans for him. I plan for him to play and play as much as he can handle,” Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson said. “I think he is a very talented player. He needs to play, needs to get out there and play but we have to see where he is and make sure how much can he handle, how much can he do.”
Heading into his junior year at Baylor University, Gordon was suspended for failing a drug test. He transferred to the University of Utah were he sat out the 2011 season. The receiver never suited up for the Utes and decided to go into the supplemental draft where he was selected in the second round by the Browns. In his sophomore year in the NFL he had 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns. That same year he was selected for the Pro Bowl. Despite his success, Gordon he was suspended for the next two-years because of substance abuse problems.
“I think the biggest thing is he still has to earn the right to be here,” said Jackson on Wednesday during his presser, “He earned the right to get back here. He has to earn the right to be here each and every day. He has been outstanding thus far here.”
Gordon was reinstated on November 1st and is eligible to play on Sunday versus the Chargers. The Bolts secondary is giving up about 206 passing yards per game, which ranks seventh in the NFL. They have been playing even better as of late. They are flying towards the ball, playing aggressive in coverage, and catching any interceptions thrown their way.
“I am excited for the matchup,” said cornerback Trevor Williams, “He is going to comeback fresh. The only thing that matters is us winning.”
The real mystery is how Gordon’s game has changed since the last time he hit the grid iron. This will be his first game in two years and there is no recent film on him for the Chargers to breakdown.
“I remember watching him when I was younger, he’s an animal,” said rookie cornerback Mike Davis, “Its like our coaches say respect everyone, but fear no one. So this weekend we can’t fear the man we have to play our game.”
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said they watched film on Gordon from the 2015 season and he feels like because he is young, his skills haven’t diminished and still has the All-Pro talent.
This is a dangerous week for the Chargers as they face the only win-less team in the NFL. Even though the Bolts lost to the same win-less Browns last year, Lynn wasn’t the coach then and that team wasn’t one game from taking over the AFC West.
After having the weekend to rest up the Chargers only had a hand full of player miss practice or be limited.
Did not practice: Nose tackle Corey Luiget (toe) and rookie receiver Mike Williams (knee) both were on stationary bikes during media availability.
Limited: kicker Nick Novak (back) and center Spencer Pulley (knee)
Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward did not practice either. He took a leave from the team as his brother, Jecaives was killed in a car accident on Monday evening. Hayward was told by Lynn to take as much time as he needs.