CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – As suspended receiver Josh Gordon tries to make his way back into the NFL he has one of the most powerful figures in sports in his corner.
Cavs superstar LeBron James.
Hours after a 13-minute video documentary hit the internet, James offered his support of Gordon’s road to redemption in a tweet that also included Gordon’s video.
“Easy 2 judge some 1 over wrong doings but u never know what they’re going thru! Addiction is a REAL ISSUE! Love the direction u headed JG 🙏🏾,” James tweeted.
In the video, which was released Tuesday morning on James’ ‘Uninterrupted’ platform, Gordon admitted to drug addiction, being enabled by former staffers at Baylor University and he reaffirmed his hope to return to the NFL.
“I’ve used alcohol many, many occasions,” Gordon said. “Xanax, many occasions. Cocaine, several occasions. Marijuana, most of my life. Codeine cough syrup, promethazine, very prevalent where I’m from. It’s what I grew up using. I’ve been enabled most of my life, honestly. I’ve been enabled by coaches, teachers, professors, everybody pretty much gave me a second chance just because of my ability.”
Gordon, who hasn’t appeared in an NFL regular season game since 2014, recently spent over 100 days in a rehab facility in an effort to get clean so he could apply for reinstatement again after being denied by the NFL in March.
“The entire experience has been humbling,” Gordon said.
“I need to live out my amends,” Gordon added. “I need to try to make right for all my past transgressions and mistakes and show and prove I can be a better person, a better man. Somebody who is accountable, reliable because I know what’s on the other side of that. If given the opportunity, I know I can prove my worth.”
In the video Gordon chronicled his drug abuse, which has caused him to be suspended for 48 of the last 53 regular season games, dating back to his days at Baylor. Since the Browns selected him in the 2012 Supplemental Draft, Gordon has totaled 51 games in suspensions, and the meter is still counting.
Drugs – more specifically marijuana – are why Gordon landed in the supplemental draft to begin with after being kicked out of Baylor’s program and transferring to Utah, where he was also given the boot following a failed drug test.
“Not too long after I got arrested for possession of marijuana at Baylor, one of my coaches came by saying, ‘You are going to get drug tested by the compliance office. This is how it’s going to work. This is what they are going to do. If they do call you in, here goes these bottles of detox,’” Gordon said. “He showed me how to drink them, showed me how to take them. That was my first real experience with getting over on the system and that authority not really being taken serious because it was kind of being guided by somebody that’s employed by the same university.”
Gordon admitted that his first known trip to rehab in 2014 was an effort to repair his image after he was suspended for a second time by the NFL – this time for testing positive for marijuana that cost him the first 10 games of the 2014 season after leading the league in receiving yardage in 2013 and being named to his first Pro Bowl. He did it in just 14 games after serving a suspension for Weeks 1 and 2 for a failed drug test, which he said was for codeine.
“My first thought was, ‘This is a publicity stunt. This is just going to help the media deal with me. It’s going to help the fans be able to deal with it. I don’t know what they’re so worked up for anyway,’” Gordon said. “I definitely wasn’t listening. I definitely wasn’t paying attention. I was there for like 14, 15 days. It was a joke. It was pretty much a vacation. I had a bunch of good gourmet meals and took a little break.”
After returning and playing in 5 games, Gordon was suspended by the Browns for the final game of the 2014 season after failing to show up on time for the team charter to Baltimore because he was partying the night before.
He admitted that that sequence of events caused him to spiral out of control.
“We had to be up in the morning for like a 7:30 team meeting. I didn’t wake up until 10 o’clock, 10:15, coming out of a blackout,” Gordon said. “I’m getting a bunch of texts and calls from coaches like, ‘Where are you at? We’re heading to the tarmac already.’ I’m like, ‘Aw, s***.’ So I drove up to the tarmac. [Former Browns GM Ray Farmer] kind of pulls me to the side, talks to me, he’s like, ‘I’m sorry Josh, but you’re not going on this plane.’ I was watching the plane go off. I was like, ‘Well, f*** it. Let’s go home. Let’s party.’”
In 2015 Gordon pleaded guilty to driving while impaired after being pulled over by police in Raleigh, N.C. on July 5.
Following the plea, the NFL then mandated that alcohol testing became part of his substance-abuse program. He was caught drinking alcohol in a picture posted to Instagram on Jan. 2, 2016 while he and several teammates flew to Las Vegas on a private jet. The NFL immediately tested him and he failed it.
Shortly after the league handed down an indefinite suspension.
Gordon has also been hit with a pair paternity suits – one of which has already proven him to be the father of a Maple Heights girl.
“Soon as I get out of rehab, I’ll be back in Ohio and looking to be a father,” Gordon, who added he hadn’t seen his own father since 2005 or 2006, said.
Gordon was scheduled to return to the Browns after being conditionally reinstated in late July of 2016 with another 4-game ban to start the regular season. He participated in training camp, played in the final 2 games of the preseason and remained with the team through the suspension, but on the day he was scheduled to be reinstated he checked himself into rehab following reports of yet another failed test.
“Everybody kind of was like, ‘Oh, you know you’re a piece of s***. You’re a drug addict. You’re a junkie, whatever. You’re an alcoholic,’” Gordon said. “So at that point, I was like, ‘If they want me to be this guy so bad, that’s just what I’m going to be.’”
He hopes for one more chance to prove to everyone that he is not that guy.