Frustrations with an off-field hamstring injury were not the only thing that prompted the perennially disastrous Cleveland Browns to officially move on from Josh Gordon and trade him to the New England Patriots last week.
According to Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, the Browns felt that Gordon was struggling to stay sober after a summer of treatment in Florida, and felt they “had done all they could.”
The final straw undoubtedly came in the Saturday following Gordon’s off-field injury, which also featured the Browns feeling uneasy about Gordon’s status, with reports saying that he was not acting like himself upon his tardy arrival to work. Gordon also had a slow ease-in back to the football field, and caught just one pass in Cleveland’s Week 1 tie with the Steelers.
Had Gordon indeed suffered a relapse, the NFL surely would have been involved to hand the 27-year-old another suspension, as they have been wont to do numerous times in the troubled wideout’s past. And per Cabot, the NFL likely did get involved once the Browns voiced their concerns, as the parties worked in tandem on Gordon’s rehabilitation over the summer.
Gordon is subject to random testing up to 10 times per month, and a violation could result in yet another lengthy ban for the receiver that’s missed multiple seasons to suspension. But she did note that the NFL has been “trending more toward rehabilitation than discipline” in regards to substance abuse.
Gordon traveled to Detroit with the Patriots this past weekend, but was among the club’s inactives in a 26-10 loss.
“We took things during the week as they came and did what we did today,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who parted with a conditional fifth-round pick to acquire Gordon, said after the loss. “[Gordon] wasn’t active today.”
But with another week to learn the offense, and with the Patriot offense looking anemic at best out of the gate, the 6-foot-3 Gordon seems like a lock to make his Patriot debut sooner rather than later.
Barring the Browns’ fears coming to light with another positive test, of course.