Josh Gordon Is An Example Of Why Talent Is Not Enough

Josh Gordon is one of the two most talented wide receivers in the NFL. I know most people would disagree with this, but Gordon might have more physical talent than Calvin Johnson at this stage. At the very least, Josh Gordon is 1B to Calvin Johnson’s 1A as the best receiver in the league. Last year, Gordon led the league in receiving yards, despite missing the first two games of the year for a substance-abuse suspension. And that’s where the trouble begins. Well, actually it’s not. That’s just where the trouble in the NFL begins. Gordon was kicked off Baylor for drugs, and then Utah too, for drugs once again.

See, Gordon is a physical freak. He’s the prototypical superstar wide receiver. He’s 6’4″ and runs a 4.3 40 time. He’s unstoppable when he’s on the field. But he looks like just the latest star athlete who cannot make anything but bad decisions that ultimately ruin his career.

Back in May, the day after the first round of the NFL draft, news came out that Gordon would be suspended for the entire 2014 season. Again, for drugs. The news was devastating, if not a little amusing because nothing ever seems to go right for Cleveland sports teams. The day after the Browns drafted Johnny Manziel, the Gordon news quickly soured any good feeling about the Browns future.

Whether a guy, regardless of his drug history, should be suspended for an entire year for testing positive for marijuana is a different matter. It’s against the rules in the NFL and Gordon knows that. But when news today came out that Gordon had been arrested for a DWI charge, things took a decidedly darker turn. There’s no question Gordon has a problem. It may just be self control. Or surrounding himself with the wrong crowd. Or it could be addiction. But, whatever it is, Gordon needs help.

We’re fairly desensitized to NFL players getting arrested. It happens way too much. What makes things especially hard to understand though for Gordon is that he was just a year or so away from getting one of the biggest contracts in wide receiver history. Think about it: he would have been 24 or 25, firmly in the middle of his prime, up for a new contract. And having put up the best stats in the league at wideout.

It’s impossible to know exactly what’s going on with Gordon until we get more facts. Right now, we know he has extremely poor decision-making and has had an extensive problem with substance abuse. What we’re reminded of though, is that there is more to being successful than just talent. Gordon should be a superstar in the NFL with relative ease, but instead his career is likely over.


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