When It Rains, It Pours

Cleveland Browns’ WR, Josh Gordon, just arrived in training camp.  To say that Gordon has had an “unorthodox career” to date would be akin to saying that Frank Sinatra “could sing a little”.  Here are a few summary items:

  • Browns drafted him out of Baylor in 2013.  There were a couple of drug-related issues in his college days and they must have been more than trivial because he was suspended indefinitely by Baylor coach, Art Briles, who is not exactly known to be a heavy-handed disciplinarian.
  • Gordon played well for two years and looked as if he would be a franchise cornerstone; made the All-Pro team after his second season in Cleveland.
  • Unfortunately, Gordon has been suspended on multiple occasions for violating the NFL Substance Abuse Policy.  Partially through the 2014 season, he failed another test and was suspended “indefinitely”.
  • He was finally reinstated in the middle of the 2017 season.
  • He was late to training camp this year because he was involved in counseling regarding anxiety issues and his continuing drug/alcohol rehab process.  When he went into that counseling program, he said that it was a necessary step for him in his “overall wellness program”.

I mention all that history and baggage because Josh Gordon seems to be the embodiment of the old saying, “When it rains, it pours.”  According to reporting by TMZ, Gordon is under a court order to pay $6500 per month in child support and that he missed his first payment date on 1 August.  According to that TMZ report, Gordon could face 30 days in jail for his first violation of that court order and then 60 days for a second violation and then 90 days …

When Gordon arrived in the Browns’ training camp last week, this is what he had to say:

“I realize in order for me to reach my full potential my primary focus must remain on my sobriety and mental well-being. Let’s get to work!”

Josh Gordon is now 28 years old.  I hope that his rehab program has gotten him to a point of self-realization that maintaining his focus on his sobriety is important to more than just him reaching his potential as a football player.

We shall see …  Bonne chance, Josh Gordon.

If you are a believer in that ethereal concept labeled as “team chemistry”, you probably want to keep your eyes on the LA Rams this year.  To extend the metaphor, the Rams have donned their white lab coats and have begun experimenting with volatile ingredients by mixing them up and putting them in the same beaker.  What happens next …?

In the off-season, the Rams went out and acquired three players who – generously – can be called “testy”.

  1. The Rams got CB, Marcus Peters, from the Chiefs.  You may recall that Peters is the player who lost control to the point that he picked up an official’s penalty flag and threw it into the stands in the late stages of a game last year.  Let’s just say he did not win the “Mr. Poise Award” for that weekend…
  2. The Rams signed Ndamukong Suh from the Dolphins.  Suh is well-known for violent outbursts on the field at times and for completely lackadaisical play at other times.  Amazingly, sometimes these extreme behaviors are on display in the same defensive series.
  3. The Rams signed Aqib Talib from the Broncos.  Talib has been in the NFL 9 seasons and this is his 4th team.  That is a bit unusual for a guy who has been a Pro Bowl selection 5 times and an All-Pro selection twice.  Talib’s off-field interactions with various members of various police forces have not always been totally positive.

Make no mistake, all three of these players are way better than average players on defense.  At the same time, recognize that each of the three has shown himself to be a “handful” in the past.  Sean McVay and defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, have all three of them to deal with at one time.  If they keep things under control, the Rams’ defense could be outstanding this year; if the “team chemistry experiment” gets out of control, it could be interesting to watch – – from afar.

If my reading of the contract terms for the Patriots is correct, I believe that the team has 20 players who would have made more money in 2018 than Tom Brady – – before the Pats added 5 incentive clauses to his contract a few weeks ago.  On the assumption that Brady earns the $5M attached to the 5 incentive clauses – and he did surpass all those criteria in 2017 so that is not an absurd assumption – then there would only be 9 players on the roster who would make more money than he will in 2018.  Cue Arte Johnson here:

  • Verrrry in-ter-esting…

Finally, speaking obliquely about the New England Patriots, here is a comment from Scott Ostler in the SF Chronicle about the culture of the team:

“Bill Belichick’s postgame-interview look: the dude at your gym waiting impatiently for you to get your wimpy ass off the bench-press machine.

“That Hoodie death-glower, by the way, might be why the Patriots don’t commit many infractions.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



6 thoughts on “When It Rains, It Pours”

  1. This is quibbling, but Josh Gordon is 27 years old. He was pretty good his rookie season and really outstanding the next. Since then he hasn’t played enough to know just how good he is right now. The Browns are holding him out for this weekend, and the most optimistic thing I heard was that they hope to have him ready to play when the season begins. He will be a restricted free agent after this season, so this may be his last chance to do something. A lot of teams would like to have a healthy (re: sober) Flash Gordon on their roster.

    1. Doug:

      You are correct; Gordon is 27 years old and will not turn 28 until next April.

      Indeed, he had a great second year in the league – and then his life unraveled. He is a prime example of the NFL saying that the most important “ability” is “availability”. He has not really been “available” since the middle of the 2014 season.

      However, consider that in 2013, he caught 87 passes and averaged 18.9 yards per catch. Not many WRs can have that high an average over that many catches. The more common situation is for a guy to average 19 yards per catch and only take down 30 passes – – but there are a couple of 80-yard TDs in and among those catches…

  2. This afternoon I saw reports of another chapter in the Richie Incognito story. What a nice guy he is.

  3. What does Sports Curmudgeon Swami have to say about Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald and his contract?

    1. Tenacious P:

      I think the two sides have gotten themselves into a stare-down. I don’t know who will blink in that contest, but this is the second year that we have seen this sort of drama between Donald and the Rams.

      Maybe the solution is for the Rams and Raiders to make a trade. Aaron Donald for Khalil Mack – – even-up…

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