There is no question that WR Josh Gordon has a major problem. Time and time again he has put his career at risk from pot or in the latest case alcohol. He has cost himself a couple of million dollars because he does not have the self control to stay away from those things that can get him suspended.
The common belief is that Gordon is suspended for a year. That is not the case. Under NFL rules, it is an indefinite suspension. He will continue to be tested during the suspension. He must stay violation free for at least a year to apply for reinstatement.
But in my opinion the Browns are nearly as guilty as the player. When Dallas had problems with the player formerly known as Pacman, they hired a guy to keep him out of trouble. While the babysitter did not solve the issue for the Boys, it could have with Gordon. Gordon has shown no violence tendencies.
Had the Browns done that after Gordon’s career season of 2013, he might still be a productive member of the team. That could have significantly impacted the 2014 season and the team’s chances for the playoffs. The Browns vertically challenged receivers did well early in the 14 season. The 2013 Gordon would have made a big difference. But after yet another suspension, the 2014 Gordon clearly did not have the same mindset as he did in 13. During the 14 suspension, Gordon was allowed to attend meetings only because it was reduced from the indefinite suspension to a 10 game ban. Even then he violated his reinstatement terms just after the Browns season concluded.
So the question is now that the horse and WR are both out of the barn, what should the Browns do?
First, there is no financial or football advantage to cutting him. His contract is frozen during the suspension and that in effect extends the Browns control of him. He will not become a restricted free agent until 2017. He will not count against the cap or roster for the year.
There may be an advantage to cut him from a team perspective. It would tell Johnny Manziel and others that despite the talent they may have, if they screw up they will be gone. Maybe that would get Johnny to study a little more. No, probably not.
The risk is that being cut off from the team there is little chance that Gordon can stay clean during the time away. The team can have no contact with him at all. That will significantly reduce his chances of staying clean.
The suspension is not certain. The NFLPA may appeal it. An appeal may reduce the term and thus allow club contact. But given the 2 reductions in suspensions Gordon has already received plus his escape from punishment for an OMVI plead, there is very little chance he will get yet another break. He has to grow up and comment to his profession. But the Browns share some responsibility for his situation as well.
That is what I think. Tell us what you think by commenting here or tweeting me @NNRonDSN.
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Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on http://www.eBooks-Library.com/Contemporary/ and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.
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