NFL clearly has a hand in Josh Gordon’s timetable for return

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Throughout the unexpected absence of receiver Josh Gordon from Browns training camp, a persistent, nagging sense has lingering that the move was not entirely voluntary, and that the league had some sort of role in the departure and/or the return. Through it all, however, reporters have parroted without much scrutiny the notion that this process is controlled solely by a “proactive” Gordon, who simply decided on the eve of training camp that he needed to address issues related to his overall health.

But the sense still lingers that the league has had a hand in this situation, despite the apparent effort to create the impression that the league has nothing to do with it. Consider this tweet from Tom Pelissero of NFL Media regarding the terms of Gordon’s return to the Browns: “Since . . . WR Josh Gordon is still in jointly negotiated substance abuse program, he’s subject to certain conditions. Per [league spokesman Brian McCarthy]: ‘This part of the process. Can attend meetings, do conditioning. Can go to practice but not participate. No timetable on next step.'”

However this one is characterized, it’s clear that Gordon’s return and the terms of his return are controlled by the league. It’s also clear that Gordon’s ability to practice and to play will be subject to league approval.

Which necessarily means that something likely happened within the confines of Gordon’s treatment plan to trigger the absence in the first place. Otherwise, he would be instantly reinstated with no restrictions of any kind.

So why is the league tiptoeing around this one? As suggested in the early days of Gordon’s unplanned sabbatical, the Enforcer may be (wisely) realizing that overly aggressive application of the substance-abuse policy helps no one. So with Gordon in Stage 3 of the program and with any false move resulting by rule in a minimum banishment of at least another full year, the league apparently opted not to run Gordon out of the sport but to work with him.

33 responses to “NFL clearly has a hand in Josh Gordon’s timetable for return

  1. So with Gordon in Stage 3 of the program and with any false move resulting by rule in a minimum banishment of at least another full year, the league apparently opted not to run Gordon out of the sport but to work with him.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Not a smart move. It invites claims of favoritism for any player who is disciplined under the program. Then the pot should be legal crowd will jump in support. The result undermines the league’s ability to enforce standards an discipline. If they want to make a change then make an actual change rather than a stance of variable indifference.

  2. When it all comes out it will likely come out something like this.

    Gordon was having personal/recovery issues and made the appointment himself to get help. Gordon then told both the team and NFL of his plans. But Gordon slipped up and used again before he made it to his get help destination.

  3. Talk about beating a dead horse. The guy clearly didn’t think being on Hard Knocks was the best thing for his sobriety, and I have to agree. Apparently the league does too. Just hope the guy can stay on the straight and narrow from here on in because from his confessions in that article, he has a lot of problems that will be a struggle for the rest of his life.

  4. hodaghunter says:
    August 18, 2018 at 2:05 pm
    Addiction is a mental health disease. Let’s stop treating it like a choice.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Assuming that is true isn’t all addiction first caused by a choice made when not addicted? It is similar to the drunk driving issue. The consequences for an incident while drunk are always ignored by making the sober decision to start drinking.

  5. hodaghunter says:
    August 18, 2018 at 2:05 pm
    Addiction is a mental health disease. Let’s stop treating it like a choice.

    Only poster that gets it. I wish the young man health and life. People don’t choose this. Their choice is in whether to get help for it. Which he has.

    Seriously people, do you choose to get cancer? But how many of your life choices get you there?

  6. I wouldn’t be surprised if Roger, Hue and his doctors are working on his retirement. Addicts can’t play in the (Narcotic Free League)

  7. I don’t know. Alcoholism runs in my family but I choose to never drink. To me, in my instance, it’s a choice.

    Regardless, good luck JG. Not because I’m a Browns fan, but because I’ve seen what these issues can do to a person and families.

  8. this all sounds contradictory at the least since all health related issues, drug tests, etc. are confidential while in rehab giving gordon the time for any drugs he mat have in his system to be flushed without failing an nfl test and losing his salary, time accrued and/or career. and for all those people who still think this is somehow related to hard knocks, a vacation, skipping training camp so he doesn’t get hurt, being more mature because he had a child being born, a custody case, worrying about 30 days in jail, ensuring overall mental and physical health, taking a proactive step, somehow related to bryant, etc. I think this shows that a bigger hand was in control/manipulating his absence for better or worse.

  9. TruFBFan says: “Seriously people, do you choose to get cancer? But how many of your life choices get you there?”

    Nobody chooses addiction; I will grant you that, just as nobody chooses cancer. But if you smoke 3 packs a day and come down with mouth/lung cancer, you might as well have chosen it. I have sympathy and wish the best for anyone who is addicted but I am also tired of the “it’s a disease”. No, it started with a choice. It may have blossomed into a disease but it started out as a choice.

  10. Uh, no one really knows what causes cancer. Lifestyle, maybe. Maybe not. Try to get a doctor to narrow down where any specific cancer comes from. They won’t. Lawyers will tho.

  11. When his teammate told reporters that he had spoken to Gordon and emphasized not about football. That was a clear indicator Gordon was serving a suspension.

  12. The truth is Gordon still needs help. Hopefully he is getting it. Rooting for him. Clearly not a suspension or league driven. This was a Gordon decision. If it was the leagues decision, there would have been some obvious leaks and not so much secrecy. Nothing to see here. Move on. Good luck JG

  13. TruFBFan says:
    August 18, 2018 at 2:37 pm
    hodaghunter says:
    August 18, 2018 at 2:05 pm
    Addiction is a mental health disease. Let’s stop treating it like a choice.

    Only poster that gets it. I wish the young man health and life. People don’t choose this. Their choice is in whether to get help for it. Which he has.

    Seriously people, do you choose to get cancer? But how many of your life choices get you there?
    ============================================================

    Seems to me you contradicted your own statement. Granted nobody chooses to get cancer. But at the same time you can’t decide to not have cancer once you get it. Many people however choose to no longer abuse substances even though they have the “disease”. It may be difficult but it is doable. Many things are. Seems like the very definition of choice. But as long as it is a disease it is not their fault. That’s what all the disease BS is all about. NOBODY is forced by circumstance, brainwaves or any other BS excuse to abuse substances.Your liberal BS if taken to it’s logical conclusion means your hated president is not at fault for all the things you hate him for. Surely if alcoholism is a disease so is being an a**…if you pay attention it is obvious he can’t help himself.

  14. snakeman40 ,

    I think the point people are making to you is that just like cancer with how genetics play a role in many people getting it and that being exasperated by seemingly normal things that they do, so to is how addiction can go. Some people may have never picked up a drink of alcohol or ever tried any drug (i can attest to that being true for me on that latter account), but most people won’t ever be able to say that. However, what’s different for them just like the breast cancer or colon cancer or leukemia patient who is predisposed to having that by just breathing the same air or eating the same foods or whatever as the rest of us, so goes for that addictive personality when they tried a beer the first time or smoked weed the first time or did a line of cocaine or whatever the drug might be, and they literally can’t stop because that’s their genetic/personality predisposition. That’s what I think you’re not hearing from the people trying to explain this to you because you’re only seeing it from your perspective of “well, if he never did blah, blah, blah, he wouldn’t have that problem.” Addicts say that’s all it took was that first time of whatever it was. So imagine if the first time you tried something as mundane in a vacuum as beer that it led you down such a destructive path and maybe you could sympathize with him and other addicts.

  15. realfootballfan, please know that I DO sympathize with addicts (my ex spent most of her career trying to help such people) and I hate what they have to go through. I will not tell you I had the type of upbringing that Josh did so I cannot say I wouldn’t have done the same thing. All I know is I am not addicted to crack, coke, meth, heroin, oxy’s, etc. because I never tried any of them except oxy’s (and that was as a dr. prescription). Again, I had it a lot easier than Josh did growing up but I still think in MANY of these instances, it does come down to a choice. If I knew the potential to get addicted to beer could happen with my first one, tell you what….I wouldn’t have tried my first one! Not saying addicts shouldn’t be helped as much as possible. Just don’t try to tell me they ALL have a disease and can’t help themselves. Many (most?) of them could have done just that by deciding NOT to take that first hit/joint/line/shot/pill. I guess I got a bit jaded by my ex’s stories of how many of her patients were in rehab because they were ordered to and not because they really wanted help. They just wanted to get out as soon as they could so they could get high. She felt so much of her time and efforts were a complete waste that could have been spent helping people who WANTED to get clean.

  16. I’m an alcoholic. My mother put whiskey in my bottle to get me to sleep because the sleeping disorder started that old school method.

    When I got older, it was one drink was too many and 1000 were not enough. But it was always at night and leading towards sleep.

    Is that a disease? Was I predestined? Same as cancer? Are people predestined and if removed from whatever may trigger it, then they don’t get it? If my mother had never done what she did, would I have been chugging Rum from a bottle to sleep? We will never know.

    One day I chose not to drink. I quit many times and the 2nd year was always impossible to get past. Just one. Just one night a week. Bang. It’s back.

    Some call it a disease, mental health disorder, whatever but I don’t know nor care. Never went to AA, or sought help. Just decided that I wasn’t born this way and I don’t want to die this way.

    For anyone reading that has been in this boat or is in it now, the key is accepting that other’s can and you can’t. That was my hurdle. It wasn’t fair. Life ain’t fair…

  17. snakeman40 ,

    I think that’s the problem though is that people don’t know that about themselves going in, either from being self unaware or just not having a clue of that that might not be a good idea for them to even try it. I also don’t think upbringing has anything to do with it because I saw a lot of people strung out when I was in college from well to do, very caring and involved families. They were actually some of the worst ones. I’ve never tried any drug of any kind, but I know most people have, whether it be weed or these days this pill epidemic, and just as I heard back when I’d wonder hwy in the world someone would, from my perspective like yours, choose to ever do something as harmful as cocaine or meth or crack the first time, it often doesn’t start off like that for them. It started off with a beer at a party. Then, that wasn’t enough, and when they were presented with the next step, it went to this, this, and this. For others, it was just I got drunk for a year in college, and now 10 years later, they’re a responsible, contributing member of society that no one would ever think they did that at one point, and those people obviously never took the next step to more vices.

    It’s just like the opioid addicts today. They popped that one pill, and now they’re shooting or snorting heroin because it’s cheaper. Everything we do is a choice, but I don’t think that these people in particular grasp before they get started how every simple choice that they made early on on that front can lead them down such a long and hard road.

  18. It’s fun listening to the “substance abuse is an uncontrollable addiction” vs the “pot is not addictive” camps battle for supremacy. The suspense is terrible, I hope it will last.

  19. nfl is lightening up on it’s drug policy, but not quite publicly yet, as long as the process is “jointly negotiaged.”

    nfl gets a thumbs up.

  20. Hodaghunter. Addiction “starts out” being a choice. Unless one is completely ignorant, one has to know that if you even try drugs, that you can become an addict.

  21. FinFan68 says:
    August 18, 2018 at 1:55 pm
    So with Gordon in Stage 3 of the program and with any false move resulting by rule in a minimum banishment of at least another full year, the league apparently opted not to run Gordon out of the sport but to work with him.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Not a smart move. It invites claims of favoritism for any player who is disciplined under the program. Then the pot should be legal crowd will jump in support. The result undermines the league’s ability to enforce standards an discipline. If they want to make a change then make an actual change rather than a stance of variable indifference.

    —————-

    You know, that worked so great with Justin Blackmon…thank jebus you don’t work for the NFL.

  22. codiablo says:
    August 18, 2018 at 5:57 pm
    FinFan68 says:
    August 18, 2018 at 1:55 pm
    So with Gordon in Stage 3 of the program and with any false move resulting by rule in a minimum banishment of at least another full year, the league apparently opted not to run Gordon out of the sport but to work with him.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Not a smart move. It invites claims of favoritism for any player who is disciplined under the program. Then the pot should be legal crowd will jump in support. The result undermines the league’s ability to enforce standards an discipline. If they want to make a change then make an actual change rather than a stance of variable indifference.

    —————-

    You know, that worked so great with Justin Blackmon…thank jebus you don’t work for the NFL.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    You missed the entire point. I wasn’t saying he should be run out of the sport. I am saying the league should enforce the rules they have spelled out. If they do not like that rule anymore (as the author suggests) then they should rescind it completely. Instead what they have done is show they will ignore rules when they want to and apply them to specific players or teams later on if they choose to. That is not how any disciplinary system works. It breeds feelings of contempt and unfairness. If you have followed any of the disciplinary drama in these comment sections that is the main gripe people have. (besides hatred of all things Goodell). Decisions like this one just keep that contempt around.

  23. by ”the NFL” you must mean John Dorsey. Seems pretty thought out to have him miss most of hard knocks to come back just in time for the dress rehearsal preseason game and also brilliantly freed up a valuable extra roster spot that allows the team to evaluate talent.

  24. Finally, the NFL is using common sense in treating these players by working with them rather than against them. Never made any sense in punishing them for a drug offense and when they were suspended, they would succumb to the same temptation that they were suspended. By keeping the player at the facility and working a schedule where a player can get the help needed for whatever addiction they have, it is a much improved policy rather than the prior policy which was incredibly harsh

  25. My theory is that Gordon had used(I hope that I’m wrong) and thereby was in a situation where, if tested by the league, would fail a drug test. So he preemptively got himself back into a treatment facility before he could be tested. I’m not sure of all the details of his testing history but I’m going to guess that another failed test would get him a lifetime ban.

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