Apparently the Cleveland Browns and their fans cannot have nice things.
After waiting nearly two years since Josh Gordon last played a regular season game in the orange and brown, the Browns were about to get the 25-year old who caught 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games in 2013 back next week against the New England Patriots. Well, that was until Gordon dropped a bombshell in the media on Thursday.
In the statement, Gordon said, “After careful thought and deep consideration I’ve decided that I need to step away from pursuing my return to the Browns and my football career to enter an in-patient rehabilitation facility. This is the right decision for me and one that I hope will enable me to gain full control of my life and continue on a path to reach my full potential as a person. I appreciate the support of the NFL, NFLPA, the Browns, my teammates, my agent and the community through this extremely challenging process.”
The breaking news hit Cleveland fans and created a tidal wave of emotions. Some supported his decision for finally getting his life together, while others were completely done with him and angry he could do this to their favorite team yet again. However, there was a sect of Browns fans who were in “wait and see mode.”
Well, it appears that sect may have been right.
According to a report on the Orange and Brown Report (part of Scout.com) that was released late Thursday night in their subscriber only area called “The Fast Lane,” the story could be much more than that. Before re-sharing this piece of news on Gordon, I want to stress that at this time it has not been confirmed by the Cleveland Browns, TSA or Cleveland Hopkins Airport—so until it has been confirmed, this is purely just a rumor/report from a very well-connected Lane Adkins of The OBR who has been breaking news and reports for many years.
According to Adkins (via public screenshots on Twitter and posts on Reddit), “We’re being told that the Josh Gordon situation is more than just a player coming to the recognition that he needs help. Instead, what we’ve heard (from sources close to the situation) is that Mr. Gordon and his security detail were nabbed/questioned/detained via the TSA for attempting to carry pot onto an LA-bound flight.”
Adkins continued, “According to sources, Gordon entered Cleveland Hopkins Airport via an underground entrance and was escorted to the upper level to pass through security for his flight. He was accompanied by a member of his security detail. A TSA representative on the upper level recognized Gordon and his security from the below ground level just moments prior…”
Editor’s Note: There is more to this quote, to finish it please head over to The OBR to read what the security team found. NOTE: You have to be a subscriber to The OBR, but you can view Adkins’ post in the forums here. Also, per Scout’s Terms of Service (which you can find here in Section 6d) forums are considered public content.
**Update 11:28 a.m.** The OBR has now made the entire quote PUBLIC to everyone. You can read the entire quote here. We have also received comment from a TSA Public Affairs official…you can read their response here.
**Update 1:55 p.m.** The OBR has since removed the post from their website and printed a retraction. You can read that retraction here.
As I stated before, currently this is just a rumor/report at this time—but Adkins and the staff at The OBR have been a staple in the Browns media for quite some time and do not have a track record for irresponsible reporting.
Assuming the report is true, there are a couple of things at work here. One, clarification on who actually was in possession of the pot (Gordon or his security detail) will be massive in terms of criminal charges. According to Ohio law, possession of 200 to 1,000 grams of marijuana is a Felony which carries a one-year jail sentence and a $2,500 maximum fine according to NORML.org.
Second, regardless if it was Gordon or his security detail carrying it—once again if true—the Browns absolutely have to cut Gordon and move on as soon as possible. Yes, he had the potential to be one of the most gifted wide receivers in NFL history, but clearly marijuana is more important to him than playing in the NFL.
Finally, if it turns out Gordon was the one in possession and not a member of his security detail—this could spell the end for him in the NFL. He was given a reprieve of sorts from Roger Goodell by allowing him to come back after four games this season despite another failed test, and knowing Goodell’s ego it is unlikely he will take yet another public shaming (from believing Gordon could turn things around) lightly.
It is sad to see such a talented player essentially wash out of the league due to an addiction of this magnitude, and I hope Gordon is serious about finally getting the help he needs in rehab. But as long as reports like this keep coming out, it is hard to have sympathy for the young man.