By Dylan Botelho, Sports EditorOn December 8, 2013, Cleveland Browns star Wide Receiver, Josh Gordon made seven catches for 151 yards and one touchdown in a 27-26 loss to the then first place New England Patriots. Five years and plenty of controversy later, Gordon will be leaving the Browns to find his new home in New England. The Browns went public with the news that they were planning to release the receiver in the upcoming week after both sides agreed to go separate ways then later decided to explore potential trade opportunities before officially releasing him.
“This afternoon we informed Josh Gordon and his representatives that we are going to release him on Monday,” Browns general manager John Dorsey said in a statement released by the team on Saturday. “For the past six years, the Browns have fully
supported and invested in Josh, both personally and professionally, and wanted the best for him, but unfortunately we’ve reached a point where we feel it’s best to part ways and move forward. We wish Josh well.” The potential to sign a star – albeit a troubled one – was an opportunity plenty of teams were chomping at the bit for. At first, the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers seemed to be the front runners for Gordon. That was until the New England Patriots came along, who with a depleted receiving core left future Hall-of-Fame Quarterback, Tom Brady, without many targets.
The Patriots were able to nab Gordon from the Browns for only a conditional 2019 fifth-round draft pick, one that will see the Browns also return a 2019 seventh-round pick if Gordon is not active for 10 games. The Cleveland Browns had held on to Gordon despite his troubled history in hopes that this once in a generation talent could one day resurface and shine on a rather lack-luster Browns team. The straw the broke that camel’s back, surprisingly enough came when Gordon injured his hamstring at a promotional shoot for the Browns earlier in the week. Gordon was selected in the second round of the 2012 supplemental draft out of Baylor University, where he played with future Heisman winner and the 2012 NFL draft’s 2nd overall draft pick, Robert Griffin III. Gordon proved himself to be one of the league’s greatest wide receivers when on the field his rookie year.
The issue however, was that he couldn’t stay on it. The receiver missed the entirety of the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to suspensions by the NFL’s substance abuse policy and only returned for the final five games of the 2017 season. Over the summer, Gordon admitted in various outlets his battle with substance abuse since his middle school years, saying that he had never played a game sober prior to his return to the Browns in 2017. Fortunately, Gordon has found himself in a better place and the now clean wide receiver was prepared to put on for the Browns after missing out on training camp to ensure his wellness. In his last season not hindered by suspensions, 2013, Gordon lead the NFL in receiving with 1,646 yards and 9 touchdowns. He stepped on the field for the Browns in their week one matchup against the Steelers and didn’t miss a beat, catching the game-tying (and decisive) touchdown for the Browns. Luckily for the Patriots, Gordon’s hamstring injury was minor and should not keep him out for any amount
of time, so the receiver will be available for the Patriots in their week three matchup against the Detroit Lions if head-coach Bill Belichick decides. The Patriots are in much need of receiving support after their 31-20 defeat to the Blake Bortles lead Jacksonville Jaguars. The Patriots regular number one receiver, Julian Edelman is out for two more games as he serves his four- game suspension, which has lead Brady to rely heavily on tight-end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Chris Hogan. Gordon will a void where the Patriots need it most, as a deep threat and overall athlete, who is capable of making a game changing play almost every time he is on the field. If Gordon was able to pull off the fantastic with the Browns’ rotating door of quarterbacks, who knows what he could do with Tom Brady throwing him the ball. Plus, as the Patriots are notoriously one of the best run originations in all of sports, never mind the NFL, we could be in the beginning of the Josh Gordon Renaissance.