Josh Gordon Is Stuck in 2013 and Still Trying to Play in the NFL Despite Numerous Blown Chances

In a year when the professional football world has already re-welcomed Tim Tebow and Kelvin Benjamin into the mix, Josh Gordon sounds eager to join the club.

Yes, here we go again. Gordon, the former Pro Bowl wideout who has served numerous drug-related suspensions, wants back in on his NFL career. However, he may want to take a step back and honestly assess his situation before trying to join a team for training camp.

Gordon wants the NFL to reinstate him yet again

Seattle Seahawks receiver Josh Gordon in 2019.
Despite numerous blown chances, former Seattle Seahawks receiver Josh Gordon is still trying to play in the NFL | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

It wouldn’t be an NFL season without rumors of Gordon either trying to be reinstated or receiving yet another punishment.

Gordon, who turned 30 in April, recently submitted his reinstatement letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. According to ESPN, Gordon has passed all of his random drug tests over the past three months.

Although the NFL conditionally reinstated Gordon last season, the league later rescinded it and suspended the veteran wideout — then on the Seattle Seahawks — in January. The NFL has suspended him six times since 2013.

As of publication, the NFL had not officially reinstated Gordon, who is a free agent. He has not played an NFL down since Dec. 15, 2019.

Gordon needs to wake up and truly assess his current situation

A narrative persisted in the mid-2010s that Tim Tebow kept earning opportunities because he engineered a playoff upset of the Denver Broncos in January 2012. Even when Tebow shouldn’t he couldn’t play quarterback at a high level, people — especially Skip Bayless — always pointed to that playoff victory.

Something similar has arguably happened with Gordon. Because he totaled 87 catches, 1,646 yards, and nine touchdowns in 14 games for the Browns as a 22-year-old in 2013, fans and teams still seemingly think he’ll do the same if given an opportunity now. 

Here’s the problem. Since that All-Pro campaign in 2013, Gordon has 110 receptions for 1,801 yards and six touchdowns across 33 games. He missed three full seasons because of suspensions and hasn’t played more than 12 games in a single year. 

While with the Patriots in 2018, Gordon hauled in 40 catches for 720 yards and three touchdowns. However, he didn’t exactly take the football world by storm and torch defenses on a weekly basis the way he did several seasons earlier.

Gordon needs to think about his situation for a second. He’s essentially played just over two seasons worth of games since September 2014. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence was a high school freshman at that time. Is an NFL team really going to use a roster spot on someone who’s missed that much time for disciplinary reasons?

Gordon has nothing to lose by going the Johnny Manziel route

Even if Gordon wants to play professional football and is legally cleared to do so, there should naturally be skepticism about an NFL team extending that olive branch. He is a ticking time bomb and suspension waiting to happen.

But if Gordon is eager to take the gridiron, he should follow his former Browns teammate Johnny Manziel and explore the secondary leagues. The former Pro Bowl receiver played in the Fan Controlled Football league earlier this year and caught two touchdowns in his first game.

The USFL is expected to relaunch play in 2022, while a rebooted XFL might not begin until 2023. Those teams may draw more eyes by giving Gordon, a Super Bowl champion with no shortage of talent, an opportunity instead of signing an undrafted receiver from a Division II school.

If Gordon avoids any further trouble, he can make a career for himself in the spin-off leagues that keep popping up. It’d provide him with a chance to keep playing and, potentially, give an NFL team that extra incentive to seriously consider signing him.

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RELATED: A Rundown of All the Times Josh Gordon Has Been Suspended From the NFL