Josh Gordon

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Josh Gordon’s Absence

He’s acknowledging how big his battle really is.

July 24, 2018 - 11:55 am

I never thought I’d use the word “buzz” when referring to the Cleveland Browns, but the buzz around the Browns this offseason was palpable. A team that has won just one game the last two years suddenly has a ton of positive energy around it, thanks to the arrival of guys like Jarvis Landry, Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield, and the return of Josh Gordon. There’s a ton of talent and juice there. And I seriously can’t wait to see that offense with Landry and Gordon on the same field at the same time.

But we might have to wait a little longer. Because Josh Gordon tweeted that, while he is feeling great, both physically and mentally, he will miss the start of training camp as “part of my overall health and treatment plan.” 

And then went on to write: “With the help of the NFL, NFLPA, and the Browns’ organization, I have been able to utilize the resources available to me that will ensure my well-being on and off the field. By continuing to follow the plan set up by our medical director and his team and taking this time before this season starts, we believe it will help me maintain the progress I’ve made for not only today but for many years to come.” 

It is a very interesting, but also somewhat mysterious message. But then came a statement from Browns GM John Dorsey that read in part “We will continue to support Josh as he receives the care needed to maintain his progress. We are going to respect his privacy while he is away from the team."

So that did not shed much light either. Was there a failed test? Was there a relapse? Or is this a proactive move? What is the timetable for his return?

Well, here come the sources. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Media, a sourced told him that Gordon is “absolutely not suspended.” Okay. 

But then again, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said that when it comes to Gordon “We'll address the matter at the appropriate time."

Huh? What does that mean? If that was just a way of saying that they’re going to protect his privacy, it would be better to say that. Saying that they’ll address the matter at the appropriate makes it seem like there might be something else going on here.

But sources have told Adam Schefter that isn’t the case. They have indicated that Gordon is seeking extra counseling to deal with his mental health and anxiety. 

Again, we don’t know why he’s stepping away or for how long, but if it really isn’t about a failed test and instead it’s about being proactive in seeking counseling to address issues before they become issues, that is awesome. So impressive. 

This is a guy who has battled addiction for years and if he is now taking proactive steps to make sure he doesn’t get into a spot where he is tempted to use, that’s massive. A ton of respect to him. Because it would be a lot easier to just say, I’m in a good spot on a team that might be good, I can fight through this. But instead, he’s acknowledging how big this battle really is. That the battle is bigger than him. 

In the past, he has said that he used substances to help him deal with anxiety and if instead, he’s using counseling instead of substances, that’s a huge step. If he really is doing this as a proactive step to preserve the gains and the progress that he’s made, if he’s putting his mental, physical, and emotional healthy above football, that is great. Even if it means that he won’t be there for some of training camp. 

But again, it’s hard to know because we don’t know everything at this stage. 

I do know this: if your immediate reaction to this story is - what does this do for my fantasy team? Then my immediate reaction is – get a life. Stop whatever you’re doing right now. If you’re at work, take a bathroom break. If you’re driving, pull over. Do whatever you have to do to find a mirror, and take a long, hard look in it. What do you see looking back at you? Are you proud of that? Because if your reaction to the Josh Gordon news is: does this drop him below Jarvis Landry on my draft board, I’m not proud of you.  

Don’t get me wrong. Fantasy football is awesome. It really is. But you know what else is great – compassion. Supporting someone in their battle against addiction, whether you know them or not. Caring about people for who they are as people, not just how many points they’re worth in a PPR league. 

And if you still want to know who you should draft instead of Josh Gordon, check with Alvin Delloro. He’s the man with all those answers. Hit him up on Twitter @alvindelloro.