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The Equivocal 2019 Patriots Wild-Card: Josh Gordon

Fresh off notching his fifth league suspension due to his ongoing battle with drug abuse, wide receiver Josh Gordon gets yet another chance. However should Gordon’s reinstatement be one leaving New England optimistic considering his notorious reputation for failing those who’ve continuously attempted to reinvigorate the now 28-year-old veteran?

It’s been confirmed that wide receiver Josh Gordon was officially reinstated after checking out of last season’s comeback which saw Gordon take the field for 11 games in his debut season as a Patriot. Gordon is now eligible for week 1 of the 2019 regular season. Unfortunately, that season would end in a fashion that we’ve become accustomed to- Gordon, out of his own volition, removed himself and checked out of the 2018-19 season. This would lead to his fifth suspension involving drugs in his NFL career.

With an enriched franchise built for Super Bowl contention every season, it seemed as though the once top-tier caliber receiver Josh Gordon was a perfect fit. A flyer well worth taking via a September 2018 trade which involved nothing more than a measly second-round selection to Cleveland.

Flash Gordon showed that same vintage deep, long-ball target threat we saw with the Browns. In 11 games played for New England last season, Gordon racked up 40 receptions for 720 yards with three touchdowns. A strong showing for a debut season, certainly with expectations unknown considering the fact that Gordon entered his Patriots stint after missing 43-of-48 Cleveland Brown games due to suspension.

Suspension.

That’s the very concern that remains the most prevalent and relevant factor within this entire return. As NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated, everyone is rooting for Josh Gordon “personally and professionally.” That goes without objection. Nevertheless, we must consider the fact that Gordon, 28, has not received one, not two, not three, not four, but now five chances in which he’s failed to counter and revive himself in a manner that doesn’t tarnish his legacy or end his season.

In a league where Roger Goodell is notorious for missing the mark and doing right by his players, he’s done more than enough in the instance of Josh Gordon who has failed to stay on the field for a full season since his rookie season in 2012. That’s bizarre to say the very least, especially when we’re considering a player of Gordon’s magnitude skill-wise. We’re talking about a former top-of-the-line, cream of the crop wide receiver who went from 805 yards in his rookie season, to an unbelievable 1,646 yards in his second year of NFL football. That kind of growth in the span of just a season is ridiculous.

This exhilarating season for the books consisted of a then 22-year-old Josh Gordon accompanying his 1,646 yards with 87 catches and nine touchdowns in just 14 games played for the Browns. A fantasy football team owners PowerBall season!

Let’s take a moment to do the math for a minute there.

1,646 total yards divided by his 14-game 2013 season equals 117.57 yards per game. Not to mention the fact that Gordon, again at just 22-years-old, became the first player in NFL history that season, to record back-to-back consecutive games of 200+ receiving yards.

Oh and another thing. Gordon managed to pull off this hall of fame caliber accolade while catching passes from the three-headed monster Cerberus from Hercules. A disaster of a quarterback crew featuring Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer, and Jason Campbell…

Three quarterbacks. 25 touchdowns. 20 interceptions. That’s Cerberus for ya.

In spite of that unstable detriment to Cleveland Browns history, Gordon managed to put together an unimaginable sophomore season in the NFL. One in which would typically lead many to pencil Gordon’s name in future hall of fame discussion.

Yet the script of Josh Gordon’s NFL career has taken a set-back of a toll with his ongoing battle with the NFL substance abuse policy which has caused Gordon to miss 58-of-80 potential games played through the 2014-2018 seasons. That’s just 22 games played within five seasons.

Again we’re still fully aware of the value Josh Gordon’s presence on the field has and his impact down field for any quarterback- but the keyword “presence” is where the issue lies. Gordon hasn’t managed to prove to anyone that he’s a trustworthy investment when taking into consideration that fact that he’s tarnished every second-chance opportunity he’s received.

In week 1 of the New England Patriots 2019 season, Josh Gordon has the opportunity to rewrite a daunting chapter of his career and flip the switch with a team who’s offense remains questionable entering a Super Bowl defending year. The birth of a Rob Gronkowski absent era with the retirement announcement that triggered many to write off Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and New England.

It all starts September 8 against Pittsburgh.

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