Cris Carter was once a lot like Josh Gordon: One of the most talented receivers in the NFL, but on the verge of throwing his career away because of substance abuse. Carter says what finally made him realize that he has to get clean was the Eagles cutting him, and he hopes Gordon goes through the same thing.
“I feel for the kid,” Carter said on Mike & Mike. “My situation was very, very similar. If I’m the Cleveland Browns — and it’s gut-wrenching for me to say this — I really think that the only thing that’s going to help the kid is if they release him.”
Carter has said many times that when his coach in Philadelphia, Buddy Ryan, booted him off the team, that was what made Carter realize that he had to get help.
“When they took that away, that was my reality, and that was the catalyst to get me on the road to recovery,” Carter said.
Carter suspects that the people around Gordon are coddling him, rather than telling him that his only option is to enter treatment for substance abuse.
“We’re dealing with addiction,” Carter said. “We’re dealing with a disease. If Josh had cancer we’d put him in a treatment center. And right now that’s what we need to do for him. But no one wants to do the hard thing. Everyone wants to keep coddling him, the same way they did in high school, the same thing they did at Baylor, where he had problems. Eventually it’s going to blow up. Now it’s blowing up in the National Football League, and his career is in jeopardy.”
Whether the Browns cut Gordon or not, he is unlikely to play this year, as he is facing a yearlong suspension. The biggest question is whether Gordon will ever get the kind of help he needs to return to football and become the kind of player Cris Carter was, or if he is going to let his substance-abuse issues derail his NFL career, and his life.