Josh Gordon looked like the best candidate to be the NFL’s next big thing after a monstrous second season in the league and with the Cleveland Browns. The 23-year-old exploded to catch 87 balls for 1,646 yards—which led the league by over 100 yards—and nine touchdowns. As the Browns ended their season out of the playoffs, they had to be dreaming about where Gordon could take them in the future.
For both Gordon and the Browns, though, things have started crashing down.
The latest trouble for Gordon is an arrest for driving while impaired early on Saturday morning in Raleigh, North Carolina. The story was first reported by Matt Anderson of WKYC in Cleveland, who reported that the arrest was made at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning and that Gordon has already been released on bond. Anderson also tweeted out the wide receiver’s mugshot:
— Matt Anderson (@MAndersonWKYC) July 5, 2014
A DWI arrest is just another thing to add to the problems that Gordon and subsequently the Browns are facing. Gordon is currently up against a possible year-long suspension due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy. This would be Gordon’s second suspension for violating the policy, having missed the first two games of last season due to another violation.
Gordon has had troubles with substance abuse policy throughout his brief time in the NFL as well as in college at both Baylor and Utah where he failed multiple drug tests. With this latest arrest, it’s getting to the point where the Browns seriously have to consider whether or not that Gordon’s talent outweighs his obvious issues off the field.
There’s no denying the fact that Gordon is a supreme talent as a wide receiver. He has game-changing speed and is liable to break open a big play and a game at any moment when he’s on the field. However, his apparent issues with substance abuse aren’t going to allow him to be on the field all that often if he continues at the rate that he’s been going at.
First and foremost, the Browns organization and Gordon himself need to find a way to get Gordon some kind of treatment. One suspension or one arrest can be treated as a mistake where the punishment is enough. When suspensions and arrests keep piling up and a trend starts to form, that’s when there’s possibly a problem with the individual involved that needs to be addressed through professional help.
Beyond that, though, it’s going to be hard for the Browns to rely on a player that can’t stay on the field due to these glaringly apparent issues with his behavior. While he has the talent to perform at an All-Pro level, they can’t put their faith in him until he behaves like a leader off the field. It will be interesting to see where the Browns and Gordon go from here.