Wasted Opportunities

While I'm a Broncos fan, and that's mostly who I write (obsess) about in this space, I'm also an avid fantasy football and NFL fan. In fact, I write about a lot of teams and players. So when stories break, I can't help but reflect.

Today the big news in the NFL was the fact that troubled Browns receiver Josh Gordon applied for reinstatement to the NFL, and was denied. This likely writes the end to a promising, yet troubled, career for Gordon, who hasn't seen the field in more than two seasons and seems unlikely to return in 2017.

The question for many might be why a guy with multiple drug suspensions who hasn't played in more than two seasons is of interest at all. The reason is simple: the talent and potential he flashed.

Gordon really broke out in 2013, when he had 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in just 14 games and 87 receptions. He was nothing short of amazing, and explosive. But then the wheels fell off, as Gordon had multiple suspensions and, when he appeared on the verge of returning last season, went to rehab.

He's been released by a number of agents, and though he can apply again for reinstatement in the fall, things don't look good. And though Gordon has been training and is just 26, the Browns seem to have moved on, and there's plenty of questions about what he has left.

Gordon didn't look the same in 2014, when he returned from an eight-game suspension to play just five disappointing games (24 receptions, 303 yards, no touchdowns) before being suspended yet again, this time for violating team conduct.

Still, people are always interested in Gordon because of that 2013 season, which is starting to feel like a lifetime away.

Gordon is hardly the first athlete with promise to struggle off the field. Promising Jaguars' receiver Justin Blackmon worked his way out of the league on drug and alcohol suspensions. And Martavis Bryant, the fast and talented wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is trying to work himself back onto the field in 2017 after a year-long suspension.

Even Le'Veon Bell, the talented running back for the Steelers, has struggled with a few suspensions. People wonder if he will have more suspensions in the future. But his otherworldly talent on the field keeps people pulling for him.

But at least they got back on the field. Gordon has played five games the past three seasons, and it may be yet many more months before he plays again, and that's if he ever gets on the field. But all it takes is one look at highlights from 2013, and it's easy to understand why Fantasy Football fans and the Browns keep hoping he can get his life together.


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