Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon struck a contrite stance, breaking his silence for the first time with reporters since being suspended for two games and being fined four game checks for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy.
Gordon is a talented player having caught 50 passes for 805 yards and five touchdowns as a fairly raw rookie last season, but his maturity is definitely in question after this setback off the field.
He has a history of failed drug tests, failing them a total of three times at Baylor and at Utah.
He seems to get that, but actions speak loudest. Not words.
“My priorities are definitely in order, definitely in line,” Gordon told reporters, via the Akron Beacon-Journal. “I still got a job to come out here and do every day. I’ve got to be accountable and be a grown man, help provide for me and my family. So I do definitely have my priorities in order.
“I need to apologize to the team, Browns fans, the coaching staff here, my family and friends. There’s a lot of people dealing with it, but I’m definitely planning to move on from it.”
Gordon issued this statement when he was suspended June 7.
“In February, I was diagnosed with strep throat for which a doctor prescribed antibiotics and cough medicine,” Gordon said. “Apparently, the medicine I took contained codeine, which is prohibited by the NFL policy. The policy terms are strict about unintentional ingestion, but the NFL has not imposed the maximum punishment in light of the facts of my case. Therefore, I have chosen to be immediately accountable for the situation. I sincerely apologize for the impact on my team, coaches, and Browns fans. I look forward to working hard in training camp and preseason, and contributing immediately when I return in Week 3.”
Gordon was asked if he has a substance-abuse problem, denying the implication, by saying: “It wasn't recreational use. The fact that it happened, it was beyond me. It was one of those things you just really couldn’t control. The statement of it actually already came out in my previous statement in June, and there’s not too much I can comment on.”
Gordon has a lot of work to rebuild himself.
He's saying all the right things, but he needs to reinforce that by staying out of trouble.
“It’s something that’s in the past,” Gordon said. “It’s still going to gloom over me for a long time. But I’ve still got a long way to go, a lot to prove to the fans here, to the people here. It’s just another obstacle in my way of getting there.”
What do the Browns think about Gordon?
It sounds like they're in a wait-and-see mode, and understandably so.
“Obviously, I'm disappointed in the situation,” Chudzinski said. “It's important that Josh understands what my expectations are. I've talked to him about that. He understands accountability, and I expect him to work and do everything he can to be the very best player he can be in the meantime, and we'll go from there.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.