Nov 23, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) attempts a pass in the third quarter of their game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Browns won 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
7. Josh Gordon
The Browns’ search for an elite wide receiver almost rivals the franchise’s long quest to find a starting quarterback since returning to the NFL in 1999.
Unbelievably, it appeared the franchise stumbled upon one during the 2012 NFL supplemental draft.
Josh Gordon possessed the size and speed that coaches covet, and the fan base drooled to see Gordon embark on a Hall-of-Fame career after watching numerous receivers fail before him.
One year after joining the Browns, Gordon proved to be the real deal as he became the franchise leader for receiving yards in a single season (1,646).
Unfortunately for Gordon, the Baylor product came with demons. As a member of the Bears, he was suspended for marijuana use. The next year, he failed another drug test and got booted off the team. He moved on to Utah, where he failed another drug test (although he didn’t admit it until he was already with the Browns). He never played a down with the Utes and sat out the entire 2011 season.
Then Browns’ GM Tom Heckert took a chance on him during the 2012 NFL supplemental draft. and it looked like the move would pay dividends.
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During the 2013 season, a majority of the fan base was beside itself when then CEO Joe Banner was rumored to be in the market to trade the Pro Bowler in the making. Wth failed drug tests mounting up, Banner wanted to acquire an asset for a player who might not be able to stay on the field to contribute.
Banner didn’t move the star wideout–and that decision bit the Browns in the behind. Gordon failed another drug test and missed 10 games during the 2014 season. He returned unspecuaulary and came off as a malcontent, running the wrong routes and making then quarterback Brian Hoyer look bad.
Following the season, Gordon took the infamous “money plane” ride to Vegas, and the NFL took note, testing Gordon for alcohol–a violation of being in the NFL’s substance abuse program.
Gordon was suspended for the 2015 season and his future with Cleveland remains in doubt. After showing great potential during the 2013 season, Gordon may go down as a never-was all because he couldn’t stay eligible.
Next: Kellen Winslow