It’s now starting to make a little more sense, even if in the grand scheme of things it still doesn’t fully compute.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Brown receiver Josh Gordon‘s unexpected absence from the first week of training camp arises from an effort to “seek additional counseling” before the launch of training camp “to deal with his mental health and anxiety.” (No medical records were tweeted in the crafting of that report.) While that definitely makes sense, given that many use alcohol or marijuana to deal with anxiety and that Gordon now can’t, it still doesn’t explain the NFL’s bizarre “[w]e’ll address the matter at the appropriate time” comment on Gordon, which implies that there’s something more going on than Gordon being proactive.
If Gordon is having anxiety on the verge of training camp, it makes plenty of sense. The hype and the expectations have been growing throughout the offseason, both for him and for the team. From camp to the preseason to the regular season, there will surely be plenty of sources of stress for Gordon. Without alcohol or marijuana not options for dealing with the stress of doing his job under a microscope, as millions watch every move he makes and talking heads prepare to pounce at his every misstep or mistake, Gordon will need to know how to handle the various situations that soon will be unfolding all around him.
That still doesn’t explain the NFL’s loaded comment about addressing the matter at the appropriate time. If Gordon has had no slip up or failed test, there’s nothing to address, at the appropriate time or at any time. And that underscores the possibility that the NFL has opted to stop being so aggressive when it comes to suspending players under the substance-abuse policy. Which would be one of the best moves the NFL has made in recent years.