2019 Gordon Watch: Reinstated and It Feels So Good

dcmissle

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Does it? I mean, he’s a high level athlete and an addict. It seems kind of syllogistic.
Based on my understanding of the ending in Cleveland, which went through hell and back with him over several years. As competition was ramping up, he grew tight, began acting erratically and the Browns were convinced he was on the verge of a relapse, so they parted ways.

P’tucket put it well — high stakes football for him is a trigger.

Have nothing but sympathy and on the basic issue whether the NFL should be policing any of this, I am conflicted. Addicts in our society in a wide variety of professions and callings perform at a high level for decades drunk, stoned and whatever.
 

Red Averages

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This is great news for the Pats. I am less convinced that it is great news for Gordon.
The Patriots had a guard on him all season... and it failed. I'd hope this is the best thing for him. There will be a ton of resources thrown to helping him. Ideally it works.

...and if he's able to be a productive WR even better.

Edit - I'll leave this stand, but I hadn't read the more recent posts which explain it better. Thank you for that perspective.
 

Marciano490

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Thanks for the insight guys, that was interesting to read and contrary to what I would’ve assumed.
 

Ale Xander

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This is good news for everyone except opposing defensive backs and coordinators and Maurice Harris.
 

Super Nomario

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Based on my understanding of the ending in Cleveland, which went through hell and back with him over several years. As competition was ramping up, he grew tight, began acting erratically and the Browns were convinced he was on the verge of a relapse, so they parted ways.

P’tucket put it well — high stakes football for him is a trigger.

Have nothing but sympathy and on the basic issue whether the NFL should be policing any of this, I am conflicted. Addicts in our society in a wide variety of professions and callings perform at a high level for decades drunk, stoned and whatever.
I was going to point out that most of his actions that have gotten him suspended have occurred when he isn't playing football - prior to his junior year at Baylor, in the 2013 and 2014 offseasons, on the bye week last year, etc. - but this timeline makes clear that his problems with drugs and alcohol stem way back and are continual, detailing how he drank and did drugs every day in middle school, high school, college, and in his early years in the NFL. The good thing is that he has been willing to pull himself out of the league to check into rehab and focus on his wellness before. I'm not optimistic he can get through the season without another relapse, but I probably wouldn't be optimistic he could get through that time period without a relapse under other circumstances, either. In 2016, he was supposed to come back Week 5, checked into rehab instead, stayed clean for six months, then relapsed again. I don't know whether football helps or hurts his ability to stay sober, but it's pretty clear he struggles with addiction either way.
 

Eck'sSneakyCheese

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Just glad he’s getting another chance. I hope he can continue down the right path and play at the level we’ve seen in the past. He’s in the perfect situation with the best organization in football. Great news for today.
 

mauidano

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Josh will have all the support he needs 24 hours a day for football. This will be his last chance as it relates to football.

God willing he can be stronger and have strength; the demons will be waiting. It will be up to him to succeed in life!

Godspeed young man.
 

P'tucket rhymes with...

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I was going to point out that most of his actions that have gotten him suspended have occurred when he isn't playing football - prior to his junior year at Baylor, in the 2013 and 2014 offseasons, on the bye week last year, etc. - but this timeline makes clear that his problems with drugs and alcohol stem way back and are continual, detailing how he drank and did drugs every day in middle school, high school, college, and in his early years in the NFL. The good thing is that he has been willing to pull himself out of the league to check into rehab and focus on his wellness before. I'm not optimistic he can get through the season without another relapse, but I probably wouldn't be optimistic he could get through that time period without a relapse under other circumstances, either. In 2016, he was supposed to come back Week 5, checked into rehab instead, stayed clean for six months, then relapsed again. I don't know whether football helps or hurts his ability to stay sober, but it's pretty clear he struggles with addiction either way.
Absolutely--there aren't any obvious causal arrows to be drawn here, and his return to football might not have much of anything to do with anything about his chances of staying clean. It would be interesting to know the NFL's thinking about the relationship while making their decision--it's probably closer to yours than mine. If they thought football was an obvious trigger, it's hard to believe they'd let him come back this soon.
 

kelpapa

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This seems like goodell actually wants what is best for the player. Which is surprising.
 

geoduck no quahog

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Perhaps TB will marry him to his trainer and Gordon will become addicted to fitness the way Brady is. Isn’t it all about endorphins?

I’ll admit this is wishful thinking, for his sake.
 

McBride11

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Selfishly as a Pats fan, jacked up, to see this type of talent suiting up for the Pats. In limited time last year he surpassed most of our predictions.

As a person, I hope this means he has found ways to deal with his demons, outside of substances, that allow him to live a healthy, relatively normal life.
There are many stories of people with addiction rising above, some even discussed in our TBLTS forum, that give one hope.

Wont go into the ‘why even suspend for marijuana usage’ debate but i hope this guy can maintain for himself as a person.
 

Anthologos

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As someone who has worked with addicts and alcoholics, for some years, the words of caution and concern are worth heeding carefully, even if as fans we imagine, we hope for, we crave to the point of distraction (and why the hell not) the joy of athletic splendour rather than the squalor of dependency, and the sorry loyalties to substances that the syndromes and conditions is ailed with.

I have known folks who devoted their lives to avoiding every trigger, attending every meeting, talking every walk imaginable, who we later found had got four OUIs in a month's time. Other people were distant, skeptical, and even stuporous, and were successful almost despite themselves. I had a very dear friend try and fail at getting clean from heroin about 15 times, with no success, but the 16th time was a success. Four years now. Why, we don't know.

If Josh is indeed triggered by the flotsam and jameson of the football season, and the stress of competition, then he is going to have a tough time, and as P'tawket suggested, might be better served away from the game. But perhaps there are other, different triggers away from football. God knows, everyone has different buttons, and on/off is just one of the possibilities.

Everyone should be pulling for Gordon...and the NFL reaction and statement is remarkably coherent and compassionate. Wow. Wtf. Terrific.

But it is also worth noting something true here that is always true in addiction../the difficulty for him of "crawdad success". What I mean is, when I have dealt with addicts and alcoholics, a slip-up, even a bad one, is not the end of the world. A father and husband has been clean for 47 out of 49 days, after using daily and destructively for 3 years. Is that a success? We considered it one. That's pretty awesome...not the goal, but still a huge accomplishment.

For Josh, and for many addicts I will admit, that is not victory, or mostly victory. That is failure, for such is the system he is facing. Whatever one's personal thoughts on addiction and abstinence and 12-step principles...he faces the additional hurdle of an (probably) implacable judge.

I certainly wish him well. Hope he scores 12 TDs and has an amazing time doing it and that we see him playing backgammon with Ernie Adams in December. I'm not hopeful, but I do hope. He is still just a young man, and his failure at this stage might wreck him. His success, OTOH, would be a tremendous story, not for football only, but for faith, life, and sobriety.

Much luck Josh. 12-10=2nd chance Gordon. Go for it.
 

Anthologos

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In case my remarks about relapse are taken the wrong way, my point (I guess) is that in group, if someone screwed up by using, you welcome them back--after they come clean and after discussion--and you focus on positives. You don't kick them out for these transgressions and lapses.

Whether Josh Gordon would still be able to take advantage of help, he could certainly be denied access to football, a tough standard to which politicians and media celebrities, university professors, scientists, and many attorneys and physicians, are not strictly held. Whether unfair or not, such is the reality. Wishing him a great year. For himself.
 

Marciano490

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In case my remarks about relapse are taken the wrong way, my point (I guess) is that in group, if someone screwed up by using, you welcome them back--after they come clean and after discussion--and you focus on positives. You don't kick them out for these transgressions and lapses.

Whether Josh Gordon would still be able to take advantage of help, he could certainly be denied access to football, a tough standard to which politicians and media celebrities, university professors, scientists, and many attorneys and physicians, are not strictly held. Whether unfair or not, such is the reality. Wishing him a great year. For himself.
Thanks for these posts. They’re really insight. I’m curious - and this isn’t a gotcha or a smartass question, how the idea that 47 out of 49 days is a good thing for most people squares with the emphasis meetings and rehab seem to put on counting days sober. Or, is that more a function of tvs and movies?
 

Anthologos

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Thanks for these posts. They’re really insight. I’m curious - and this isn’t a gotcha or a smartass question, how the idea that 47 out of 49 days is a good thing for most people squares with the emphasis meetings and rehab seem to put on counting days sober. Or, is that more a function of tvs and movies?
In my own experience, recovery isn't always pure, especially in the first year. Not all substances are similar--heroin is clearly more of an all or nothing addiction--but cocaine addicts I've known and worked with were pretty ecstatic with 95% clean days in the first few months, or even 90%. Honestly, for some people achieving any clean days at all was enormous and gratifying. Again, not all programs tolerate this, or even mention it as a possibility (abstinence being the target), but most of the addicts I knew were pretty ecstatic at that success rate.

Now, admittedly other groups I've known would have been intolerant of that...but I guess my point is that many addicts and alcoholics would still consider that a huge success.

If Josh Gordon were to have a perfect 10 weeks, and have a few drinks after a monster game, in my groups he would be accepted back and forgiven, and we would start again and face the original issues. But in this case, he would have ruined his chances.

I guess i am just considering the multitude of possibilities here.

Even if he "fails" at staying clean from the NFL perspective, he might yet benefit from those same experiences/failures on his journey toward sober living. A lapse is not always a relapse. A slip is not always a slope. I suppose that is what had occurred to me.
 

dcmissle

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I was going to point out that most of his actions that have gotten him suspended have occurred when he isn't playing football - prior to his junior year at Baylor, in the 2013 and 2014 offseasons, on the bye week last year, etc. - but this timeline makes clear that his problems with drugs and alcohol stem way back and are continual, detailing how he drank and did drugs every day in middle school, high school, college, and in his early years in the NFL. The good thing is that he has been willing to pull himself out of the league to check into rehab and focus on his wellness before. I'm not optimistic he can get through the season without another relapse, but I probably wouldn't be optimistic he could get through that time period without a relapse under other circumstances, either. In 2016, he was supposed to come back Week 5, checked into rehab instead, stayed clean for six months, then relapsed again. I don't know whether football helps or hurts his ability to stay sober, but it's pretty clear he struggles with addiction either way.
Yes, his problems go back to middle school and a tragic childhood.

But as he explains in this GQ interview,


there was a pre-game ritual featuring bong hits and/or a few shots of whiskey (often Grand Marnier) and he was using (as of the time of the interview) every game — NFL and college. In his words, “to get the motor running.”

He was, by his own description, a “highly functioning alcoholic”, which is a point I tried to get to last night — he has a boatload of company in a wide variety of professions and callings in this country, and no doubt, the world.

Eight months after that GQ interview, July of last year, he was having stress and anxiety associated with his “new found sobriety.” Two months later, the Browns parted company with him.


You’re almost certainly right that his pro-active approach has helped him with the League and Goodell. But I’m persuaded that the crucible of an NFL season almost certainly exacerbates his underlying condition.
 
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dcmissle

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Yeah, I’m suspicious too.

What’s his angle here?
There is an opioid crisis and there are dramatically different views now on medicinal and recreational use of weed. There also is a new CBA to negotiate.

There are players in Canton, probably more than a few, who did not take second place to Josh Gordon with regard to self medication. And there is probably a decent argument that if Gordon played under the same regime they did, he would be in the middle of a hall-of-fame career.

The NFL got into the substance abuse policing business for the same reason as other leagues — public relations and marketing. Easier in than out, but I think they are looking to dial this back for several good reasons.
 

johnmd20

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Even if he "fails" at staying clean from the NFL perspective, he might yet benefit from those same experiences/failures on his journey toward sober living. A lapse is not always a relapse. A slip is not always a slope. I suppose that is what had occurred to me.
But a lapse, for an addict, could be fatal. That's the issue with doing one's best to stay clean. Yes, relapses can be educational and helpful for many people. But for some, it's the end of their life.
 

CantKeepmedown

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Do we still not know what caused the suspension last season? I thought the specifics never came out? For all we know, he missed
If this was any player on any other team somebody would have already pointed out that he’s almost guaranteed to be suspended again by Week 6.
Just wait for Monday radio. Somebody will say it.

This is great news not only for the Pats but for Gordon himself. The league must have seen something that lead them to this decision. I know the specifics of why he was suspended last season never came out and I guess it doesn't matter. But I wonder if it was more of missed test as opposed to a dirty test? I guess we would have heard if that was the case. Either way, having him back in the fold, with a couple weeks to prepare even, makes me giddy.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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Yeah, I’m suspicious too.

What’s his angle here?
I think his angle is that its good business (ratings) for the majority of the NFL news to be about football and not about Kaep, suspensions, #gates, etc. I think we saw a concerted effort last year to take the anthem protest narrative out of the in-game commentary and ratings were up from the year before. So its possible his office has decided to be less confrontational about off field issues in hopes that fans and the news cycle aren't consumed with NFL news that puts the NFL and his office in confrontational news bites 24/7. I think they are trying to handle things in a quieter fashion than in the past. Put the game first.

For instance when the news broke weeks ago that Gordon had applied for reinstatement there wasn't any news about what he did to qualify for that. But I felt this reinstatement was just a formality at that point. I figured the NFL had x,y,z he needed to do, he did them, and here we are. But the details of that never made it public, or if it did, I never saw it. Years ago we would have known every detail.

Anyway, that's my thoughts on it.
 

rsmith7

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Yeah, I’m suspicious too.

What’s his angle here?
RG didn't want BB to use the Commisioner's Suspended list as a taxi squad. Force BB to make a cut now and live with the choice should...

But as stated well by others above I really hope that the reinstatement is what is best for Gordon.
 

Anthologos

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But a lapse, for an addict, could be fatal. That's the issue with doing one's best to stay clean. Yes, relapses can be educational and helpful for many people. But for some, it's the end of their life.
Absolutely true. The surest approach is abstinence and continued recovery. I guess my experience has been, we try to encourage those who lapse to come back as soon as possible, whether after one drink or a weeklong bender. Of course, Gordon will be able to do that, too--although he may have lost his job in the process. Still, that is true of other fields as well, so perhaps I am speaking redundantly.

I think I have said my piece on this topic...hope he stays strong and becomes happy in the process, football or no.
 

tims4wins

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On a scale of 1-10 how surprised would everyone be if Gordon were cut? It seems unlikely, but also like something BB would do... especially if he sees the team setting up better without him?
9. They didn’t have to sign him to a tender.
 

lars10

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9. They didn’t have to sign him to a tender.
I thought about that too. But could that also just have been to keep their options open? I don’t understand what the cap implications would be/are so maybe that wouldn’t be a smart option.
 

dcmissle

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On a scale of 1-10 how surprised would everyone be if Gordon were cut? It seems unlikely, but also like something BB would do... especially if he sees the team setting up better without him?
7. I think he will stick pending a review of how he performs the rest of the pre-season. If poorly, cut. If as expected, he sticks so long as everything else lines up.

The issuance of any statement was certainly not required; everything BB does has a pupose; this statement has an edge to it.
 

InstaFace

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8. He's so much more athletic than everyone we have at the position (even Edelman) that even if his absence has caused him to lag behind in general preparedness thus far, I can't see him getting outright cut except for, like, sustained insubordination or something. I wouldn't be that surprised to see him get only a handful of snaps the first few games though, or even 0.
 

Harry Hooper

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The issuance of any statement was certainly not required; everything BB does has a pupose; this statement has an edge to it.
I don't see any edge to it. BB issued the statement so that he can point to the statement and defer any more discussion whenever he gets questions about Gordon.
 

axx

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Yeah, I’m suspicious too.

What’s his angle here?
So Roger can say "I told you so"?

I would expect him to make the team. It would be in the Patriots best interests to assume he won't be by the end of the season though.
 

InstaFace

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I don't see any edge to it. BB issued the statement so that he can point to the statement and defer any more discussion whenever he gets questions about Gordon.
Well it's pretty deft - he issued a statement on saturday that "he's not on our roster yet so when he is, we'll look at it and see what happens then"... except that he'll be on the roster on Sunday. He could have waited a day and not had that excuse, so better run that non-statement out there!
 

Tyrone Biggums

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I think Belichick cuts him. Just a feeling based on the press release and everything else out of BBs mouth.
 

lexrageorge

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It's your typical BB statement when discussing roster situations. "Best interest of the team", "we'll evaluate", et al, have been part of BB's vocabulary since the beginning.

Gordon gets cut if Belichick thinks he can no longer help the team, something Belichick has been outstanding at determining when it comes to other players (no-one cut from the Pats has ever really took off elsewhere). Otherwise, he'll be given every opportunity to make the team.
 
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Everything the Patriots have DONE since Gordon was suspended suggests they value him, especially tendering him. BB does some shocking things, but this would be completely bizarre. The terseness of the statement, and the content, are in total keeping with how he operates. I don’t see any reason to “get a feeling” he’s going to cut him. If he comes in and performs badly, then yes, but otherwise...WHY?
 

DrewDawg

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Yeah, if they were gonna cut him after getting reinstated they would not have tendered him. That was just BB speak. Come on folks.
 

Seels

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Gordon was 14th in DVOA and 18th in DYAR despite a game with Tyrod and just being thrown into the mix. He makes like $1.6m and is undoubtedly the best WR on the team. If he does something stupid cutting him is irrelevant -- he'll be suspended. If he doesn't he's a top 10-20 WR in football. He isn't getting cut. 0.
 

dcmissle

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I don't see any edge to it. BB issued the statement so that he can point to the statement and defer any more discussion whenever he gets questions about Gordon.
Well done. That's exactly how he rolled with Steve Burton at halftime:


I'm still not going above 7 on the surprise meter for anything BB does, this included. When other zig, he zags.

The tender occurred 4 months ago. It tripled Josh's salary to just over $2 million. That's dollar for dollar against the cap.

My question is, can he now be dealt and, if so, for what?

I'm not expecting it. It would disappoint me. But I'm not going to feel secure until he has a locker.