Josh Gordon has said that he wants to stay in Cleveland, and the Browns have said that they have no desire to trade their troubled wide receiver.
Whether both sides are telling the truth remains to be seen.
“I don’t think that the Browns right now want to trade Josh Gordon,” Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan Browns reporter Daryl Ruiter said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “They publicly say that they’re not fielding any offers. When the phone rings, they’re basically hanging up. My view on the whole situation is you’ve come this far to stand by this guy. You could have cut bait with him a long time ago, and after watching him in a couple of practices here in training camp since he’s gotten healthy, ride it out and see what you get come Week 5 when you can get him on the football field. Because if you pair him up with the likes of Terrelle Pryor, their first-round pick, Corey Coleman, and veteran Andrew Hawkins, and all of a sudden RG3 has some weapons offensively to play with.”
Gordon, 25, led the league with 1,646 receiving yards – in just 14 games – in 2013. He has played in just five games since – and none since 2014.
“There’s no question he’s on his last strike,” Ruiter said. “This is make-or-break. Hue Jackson has come in and basically given him a clean slate. Past sins have been forgiven. It’s about what you do from today going forward. And by all accounts, Josh Gordon has been a model citizen since he’s been conditionally reinstated by the commissioner. He’s been a good teammate off the field. He’s certainly doing everything he can to get himself ready for the season on the field. So the Browns really don’t have any complaints about him now. The questions, though, will always remain with him: Can he keep himself actually available on Sundays because he is a player that’s been suspended for 33 games (over) the last four seasons combined, while only playing in 35 games since the Browns took him in the supplemental draft with the second-round pick.”
Ruiter fully recognizes that Gordon needs to grow up, but he also believes that the NFL needs to rethink its punishments for various transgressions.
“I think that the NFL has a tremendously steep double standard and heavy hand when it comes to the substance-abuse policy, especially when you’re talking about marijuana usage,” Ruiter said. “The fact that this guy has been suspended for 33 games over marijuana usage is disgraceful, in my opinion, when you consider some of the other punishments that have been handed down to players who have beat women. I have a tremendous problem with that double standard. I have a problem with the commissioner just out of thin air saying, ‘I’m going to reinstate you, but I’m also going to suspend you for the first four games of the upcoming season as well.’ That doesn’t fit with the collective bargaining agreement. If there was another drug violation, he should have been gone for another year. It’s almost as if the commissioner is making some of this stuff up as it goes along.
“On the flip side,” Ruiter continued, “the commissioner might be doing Josh a favor by giving him a break and saying, ‘I’m going to punish you for the test we weren’t happy with in March, but I’m not going to take another season away from you. You can come back in Week 5 and get yourself back on the field.’ The other thing is, he’s actually going to be allowed in the building to work out, be in team meetings, have that structure in his life. So he’s not been banished for those four weeks, which I also think is a positive step in the right direction. And again, I realize the rules are the rules, and he’s not played by those rules. I get that. But I have a problem with a guy being suspended for over two seasons over marijuana use when you have players with domestic-violence issues, players with issues with law enforcement, serving suspensions that are a lot less severe and have taken fewer time away from the primes of their careers.”