What Can Gordon Do?

My Plan for Josh Gordon

It’s pretty much a slam-dunk that disappointing (at least off the field) wide out Josh Gordon will be out for all of 2014 – and possibly forever.  I’m in the camp that he’s needs some guidance and direction in order to turn his life around; and that still may not be enough.  For whatever reason, he refuses to act like a Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, or A.J. Green, all of whom tend to stay off the police blotter.  In a surprising move, which may not bring much change, Gordon should find out what it took another football star to turn it around.

Talk to Tyrann

The “Honey Badger” refers to former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu.  Despite a fine 2011 season (which included an MVP award in the SEC Championship Game), the athlete was suspended one game for violating the university’s drug policy.  With all the hype, and coming off a season where he was a Heisman finalist, Mathieu was kicked off his college team in 2012 for repeated failed drug tests.  He then had a choice to transfer or remain a student at LSU and re-join some teammates in 2013; Mathieu chose the latter.  However, just a few months later another an arrest followed – for possession of marijuana.  That pretty much sealed his fate at the collegiate level and the athlete made the jump to the NFL.  But what would the “Honey Badger” do until the training period in the spring?

His option was rehabilitation, which was sparsely mentioned by the media.  Now, the frequency or length of attendance is unknown to most – but it seems to have done some good.  Mathieu ended up being drafted by the Cardinals in the third round of the 2013 draft and had a solid rookie campaign.  He even accepted to switch positions and became a free safety in the NFL.  A sack, three turnovers forced, (while rarely getting beaten in pass coverage), more importantly no failed drug tests, and his season could be a deemed a success.  If Tyrann Mathieu can do it, why can’t Josh Gordon?

Obviously, these are two different men who found themselves in dire situations.  Josh Gordon can do one of two things, continue on this hopeless path or at least listen to a guy who made strides.  There are no guarantees that conversing and counseling will work, but I fail to see the downside.  The NFL is a league where everyone is replaceable and even missing a year could really hinder one’s career.

Josh Gordon has a problem and should find a way to become a better person who makes much smarter decisions.  Will I be upset and disappointed if he never wears orange and brown again?  You bet, but I can guarantee that Ray Farmer will do his darnedest to find another talented pass catcher who can mimic the former Baylor product.  Assuming that goes according to plan, Gordon will be an afterthought.

Conclusion:  Josh Gordon does not get it – at least right now.  While Johnny Manziel is towing the line, he is not breaking the law while partying on weekends.  Many believe that is not a high bar to clear but the wide receiver needs to at least have a primary goal.  Talking to those who have gone through the ups-and-downs is a good start.

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