By Sterling Pingree
Troubled Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is a New England Patriot. Just two days after news broke that Gordon was going to be released by the Browns, the Patriots dealt a conditional 5th round draft choice for the uber-talented pass catcher. Since the announcement of Julian Edelman’s suspension, Patriots fans have been salivating over every name receiver on the market.
“Dez is available? We gotta sign Dez, what are they doing? Cordarrelle Patterson is our number two WR, we gotta sign Dez.”
Be damned the fact that the Cowboys let him go and the Cleveland Brown passed on him, because that’s not a giant neon, glowing, blinking, omen wielding warning sign.
Gordon is a horse of a different color all together though and all reasons for that aren’t positive. Gordon has missed most of the last 4 years due to suspensions involving violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. Gordon’s use of marijuana has been his downfall since his outstanding 2013 season.
How good was Josh Gordon in 2013? Over 1600 yards, 9 touch downs and 87 catches, which coming off of his rookie season the year before where he caught 50 balls for 805 yards, Gordon seemed poised to become a MAJOR star in the NFL.
Josh Gordon in 2013 wasn’t only productive, he was exciting. When he caught the ball with any space, the threat was always there for him to take it to the house. Case in point, the last time he played in Foxborough was December 9th, 2013. Gordon caught 7 balls for 151 yards and a touchdown, not to mention a 34-yard run. Gordon made Browns QB de jour, Jason Campbell, look like Joe Namath. (This was the game where the Patriots recovered an onside kick for the first time since Murphy Brown was on TV the first time and wound up winning in an amazing 4th quarter comeback after trailing Cleveland for 58 minutes.)
On that day, there was nothing the Patriots could do to stop Josh Gordon. He was more physical than our safeties and quicker than our cornerbacks. The big play of the day was a simple 8-yard crossing route that Gordon caught in stride down the middle of the field and sprinted past Devin McCourty on his way to an 80-yard touchdown. I’ve always said that watching Gary Sheffield take batting practice at Fenway Park was the most scared I’ve ever been at a sporting event, until I saw Josh Gordon live.
However fondly we recall Josh Gordon in 2013, that player didn’t sign with the Patriots on Monday. The player the Patriots signed has only played 11-games in the four seasons since 2013. Between rehab and suspensions, Gordon hasn’t been able to see the field for more than the 5 games he played in 2014 or 2017 respectively. That being said, Gordon is only 27-years old and in boxing circles they’d call him a “young 27” meaning there isn’t a lot of miles on his tires. It’s not the on field that causes any concern for Patriots fans, it is whether or not Gordon can keep it all together and stay on the field for an entire season.
Perhaps New England will be a new lease on life for Josh Gordon, a reprieve from the Cleveland pit of misery if you will. With that reprieve, one doesn’t know what Gordon will do: will he rescue his career and become the impact player he seemed destined to be? Or will this be another Albert Hayneworth-type situation where it’s the one last stop on a troubled player’s way out of the league for good. I don’t know if this will work, if I were a betting man, I’d probably wager against this Gordon being a Pro Bowler again this season. The dream is that he’s Randy Moss; the nightmare is that he’s Chad Ocho Cinco.
But the tantalizing thought is: what if this works out?
Oh boy, IF THIS WORKS OUT!!!
Sterling Pingree (@SterlingPingree on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.Com. Follow on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.