Not sure if this was insane, devastating or entirely predictable. I suppose it’s all three, really.
On Monday, when Seahawks receiver Josh Gordon was banned from the NFL indefinitely for violating its performance-enhancing-drugs and substance-abuse policies, it marked a stunning culmination in sadness and irresponsibility.
Eight times the 28-year-old has been popped for such an infraction, and never has he appeared serious about changing his ways. As a result, a world-class talent has likely ended his career about 100 stories short of its potential.
Here are some thoughts on the latest chapter in Gordon’s never-ending spiral.
1. I feel sad for the man, but not much sympathy.
The specifics on Gordon’s suspension haven’t been made known to the public, but the culprit has often been weed. The man doesn’t seem like he can stay away.
I understand that addiction can be ruthless. I’m almost five months sober after serious alcohol issues. I lost a friend from high school to a heroin overdose, and know that hundreds of millions worldwide struggle with some sort of substance abuse. But regardless of how alluring the temptation may be, it’s on you to say no.
While working on a story for the San Diego Union-Tribune on former Padres draft pick Matt Bush — who went No. 1 overall in 2004 before serving prison time after a third DUI — a man told me about his own struggles with alcoholism.
“You still pour the drink, you still lift the glass, you still take the sip,” he told me.
These are choices. And Gordon has made poor ones. The result? Since leading the NFL in receiving yards in 2013, he has played just 33 games.
2. The Seahawks were still wise to pick him up.
Gordon has serious substance-abuse issues, but when Seattle claimed him off waivers last month, he was still an exceptional talent with no history of locker-room drama. That’s why Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was surprised 27 other teams passed on Gordon before he came to the Emerald City.
He didn’t cost much — just the rest of his $2 million contract that New England had paid him through the first half of the season. And he seemed healthy. Did the extremely minor gamble pay off? Absolutely.
Gordon’s two third-down catches against the 49ers in his Seahawks debut might have been the difference between them winning and losing that overtime thriller. Same could be said of the 58-yard diving catch he made against Carolina on Sunday, which led to a touchdown in Seattle’s six-point victory.
If the Seahawks win the division and get a first-round bye in the playoffs, Gordon’s contributions should get a nod. And if they are able to win a second Super Bowl, they should make sure to get his ring-finger size.
3. This is still a blow to the Seahawks.
Gordon was hardly a prime target for Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, as he had just seven receptions for 139 yards in five games. But he wasn’t a player other teams could just forget about. That catch he made while sprawled out in Charlotte, N.C., exemplified why teams kept giving him a chance, and there could have been much more of that to come.
I wrote a column earlier Monday that focused on the Seahawks’ offense — how it used every weapon in the arsenal in its 30-point display Sunday. Losing one of those weapons is a long way from a knockout blow, but it’s still a punch that hurts.
4. Gordon is probably done — but who knows?
Earlier, I mentioned Matt Bush, who ended up doing four years in prison after nearly killing a motorcyclist upon his third DUI. When he got out, though, the Rangers signed the then-30-year-old, who gave them two solid years of production.
Gordon’s offenses haven’t been as egregious, and he is still in his prime athletically. So we’ll see. It would be awesome if he turns himself around.
Gordon put himself in this position. But whether it’s on the field or off, he can still put himself in a position to do great things.