Last season despite only playing 14 games Josh Gordon sensationally emerged to lead the league in yards and yards per reception. Now I am going to look back at his career so far and how he got to leading the NFL.
Gordon attended school at Lamar HS in Houston and was a two year starter.Coming off a 523yd and 11TD seasons in his senior year in high school he was considered to be a 2-star player by Scout and 3-star player by Rivals. He received just two scholarship offers both from instate Texas A&M and Baylor and he signed his letter of intent with Baylor on 12/12/2008.
Gordon played sparingly his first season in Baylor appearing in 9 games but only making one reception for nine yards. He played a bigger role in sophomore season, playing in 13 games and gaining 714 yards while serving as Robert Griffin’s second option in Baylor’s up tempo offense. However during October of that year Gordon and fellow teammate Willie Jefferson were found passed out at a local Taco Bell and Marijuana was found in Jefferson’s car. Jefferson was kicked off the team as it was his second offense but Gordon got a warning as it was first time, this was the start of a worrying trend of Marijuana and substance abuse. Despite this Gordon had his most successful year in college and appear to be focused.
However during an off-season drug test in July 2011 he tested positive for Marijuana and was kicked off the team by Art Briles for a second violation of Baylor’s drug policy.Gordon then transferred to the Utah Utes but he had to sit out the year due to NCAA transfer rules. He continued training with training with the Utes but due to financial problems he decided to declare for NFL supplemental draft a year early.
Considered by many to be an intriguing prospect with good hand, ideal height and strong at gaining yards after the catch, there were still questions surrounding his rawness and his Marijuana use. Despite this he was selected by Cleveland in the second round at what many felt was a reach but necessary as it was likely that Miami would have selected him with their second round pick otherwise. He was part of a core of rookies in Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden and Mitchell Schwartz who were supposed to setup Cleveland’s offence for years to come but like every Cleveland sports team’s plan, something had to go wrong.
Coming into the year Gordon was competing for number one receiver job with Greg Little and Mohamed Massaqoui. Gordon’s season began quietly before he burst on to the scene in week getting 2TDs and 82 yards on only two receptions including a 62 yard bomb. He followed it up the following week with a 99 yard performance against Bengals and sealed his position as the Browns leading receiver for the rest of the season and coupled with Little’s issues with drops and Massaqoui’s with consistency. He recorded his first 100 yard appearance that year against the Raiders and finished the year with 812 receiving on the year.
Josh Gordon wearing the no.13 jersey he wore during his rookie season before switching to no.12 he wore in college at the start of his sophomore season after Colt McCoy was traded to San Francisco
Coming into his second year in the league he was the Browns undisputed no.1 receiver and was expected to make a leap forward and become a true playmaker on the outside. Unfortunately he was facing some trouble regarding a failed drug test which showed Codine in his system and he received a four game suspension which was brought down to two games on appeal as it was his first transgression. Gordon claimed the Codine was only his system because of a cough syrup he had been prescribed and he didn’t know it violated NFL rules but any further failed drug tests would likely result in either an 8 or 16 game suspension. With Gordon the Browns struggled in their opening two games losing to the Dolphins and the Ravens but when he returned he made a big difference together with promoted QB Brian Hoyer and the Browns won the game 31-27 and a Gordon got 146 yards and touchdown. He was solid for the rest of the season getting another 3 100+yd games before he really started to get going. In week 12 contest between the Browns and the Steelers with the Browns on fourth change in QB and their season over, Josh Gordon didn’t miss a beat and broke the Browns single game record for receiving yards breaking Ozzie Newsome’s record with 237 yards. He took advantage of the aging Steelers secondary which was past its 2010 prime and showed Ikea Taylor that the NFL really is a young man’s game. It didn’t end there as he followed it up the following week with another record breaking performance torching Gus Bradley’s much improved defence despite the warning he had given the week before against the Steelers. He broke the record he set the week before by getting 261 yards and broke the record for two games with 498 yards and was the first receiver to post back to back 200 yard games. This included a 20 yard dig route on his 5 yard line which he turned into a 95 yard TD and despite the fact he missed two offensive series with a concussion. He posted another impressive performance against the Patriots getting 151 yards although the Browns lost the game on a blown pass interference call. He set a NFL record for receiving yards in a four game period with 774 yards but towards the end of the season he started to cool down and didn’t post another 100 yard game.
Gordon in his strong start to the season against Minnesota
Despite his disappointing finish and the fact that he missed the first two games he was the league leader in yards with 1646 yards and was named Pro Football Writers Association Player of the Year. He was also voted to the Probowl and was named first team All-Pro along with Calvin Johnson. So long as he can keep his contain his substance abuse, Josh Gordon has a bright future in the NFL.