Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon apologized for a variety of things on Monday, ranging from his two-game suspension for a positive drug test to partying with Cleveland’s least favorite son LeBron James, but apologies for past actions won’t change the ramifications that come with any future missteps.
Gordon could be banned for an entire season for another violation of the league’s drug policy, a potential punishment heaped on top of the red flags raised by Gordon’s failed drug tests in college. It all adds up to a profile that makes for a short stay in the NFL even if Gordon builds on a strong rookie year when he’s available to play in 2013.
That’s the message that Browns linebacker and captain D’Qwell Jackson is trying to send to Gordon in the wake of this offseason. Jackson allows that everyone makes mistakes, but says that Gordon needs to get on track “right now” or risk losing his chance at an NFL career. Jackson offers this advice even though he knows that Gordon and Gordon alone will determine how things play out.
“No matter how many bodies you put in front of him or people who speak to him, Josh has to be willing to make a change for himself,” Jackson said, via Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I could talk to him all day if I wanted to. [Coach Rob Chudzinski] could talk to him all day if he wanted to, but it’s not going to do any good unless he takes that next step. He doesn’t have that many lives left … He’s got one more time to really straighten things up before he’s got to leave. I think he is starting to realize that.”
Gordon’s contrition earlier this week supports that belief, although the history of the NFL is littered with players who promised to fly right before flying right back into the same wall all over again. We don’t know which way things will go for Gordon, but he’s certainly been informed about the consequences of doing the same thing all over again.