BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Josh Gordon has come clean about his battle with substance abuse.
Now he hopes to stay clean as he tries to resurrect his football career.
“Ultimately my goal is to be the best wide receiver of all time,” Gordon, who declared himself “clean and sober,” said Wednesday.
In a 13-minute documentary with UNINTERRUPTED that was published in October as well as an in-depth interview with GQ magazine last week, Gordon laid out in detail his battle with alcohol and drug abuse throughout his life. Gordon wants to put that all behind him which is why he declined to answer any questions related to what was relieved in the video or interview.
“For me it was beneficial to get out in front of it,” Gordon said regarding his transparency.
He was just as transparent in his meetings with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during his efforts to be reinstated.
“Commissioner Goodell has extended every resource possible,” Gordon said. “I definitely have to give a lot of thanks and gratitude towards the NFL and NFLPA and the program all together for allowing me the length of opportunity to get back and keep coming back and keep trying.”
Gordon didn’t express regret for the last 3 years.
“It was fundamental in my growth. I needed that,” Gordon said.
Gordon did not want to look back as he spoke with reporters for nearly 17 minutes in 2 separate sessions, squeezing a meeting in between.
“I’m in a good spot,” Gordon said. “I know I have the support in place outside and inside the building. My life is just in a conducive space of where I need to be for me psychologically, physically. It’s all come together. Right now at this point in my life I’m feeling well. I’m feeling great.”
Gordon was asked about revealing to GQ the harassment he received from frustrated and angry Browns fans that forced him to leave Cleveland.
“I believe that’s fair, just the frustration aspect of it,” Gordon said. “Myself, the franchise, the fans. Everybody was frustrated at that point in time, so I understand it. I believe me and coach Jackson, Sashi Brown and the front office have moved on. They obviously welcomed me back into the organization.”
Gordon credited LeBron James and James’ business partner and closest friend Maverick Carter for helping him get back on track and in position to resume what was once a promising NFL career.
“They have been instrumental as far as helping me put things into play, giving advice, and some mentorship so I definitely appreciate him and his camp for what they do for me,” Gordon said.
Gordon, who led the NFL in receiving yardage and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2013, returned to the Browns facility Tuesday where he met with both head coach Hue Jackson as well as executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown a week after sitting down with Goodell.
“I was really impressed sitting across from Josh and talking to him. It was different than the time a year ago when he was back during the summer,” Jackson said. “I saw a young man who was a lot more mature, who understood exactly where he is and what he was trying to accomplish and do. We touched several different subjects, and I will keep that between me and him. I was very pleased with where Josh was.
“He looks in tremendous shape, and there is a different look in his eye. I am excited that he is here.”
Per the terms of his conditional reinstatement by the commissioner, Gordon is permitted to attend meetings and work out on his own but he can’t do anything else involving the team or with teammates on the field. He can return to practice on Nov. 20 and is eligible to play in his first regular season game since 2014 on Dec. 3 at the Los Angeles Chargers.
Since 2013 Gordon has served 52 games in suspensions for violations of the league’s substance abuse policies and 1 game for violation of team rules.
“It starts with him,” Jackson said. “He is a grown man and so we are going to treat him that way, but we are going to do everything we can to support him. He knows my phone is on 24-7, and that is not just with him but with all of our players. I just think that is one of the huge keys. If you know that somebody is going to be there for you and going to help you through whatever, you have a chance of making it.
“We wish the best for him, and we want him to make it. Obviously, I think he does too this time.”