There is little doubting the on-field success of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards in 2013 and was one of only three players to average more than 100 yards a game.
Gordon’s demons off the field, however, are a different story. The 23-year-old has already violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy twice since entering the league through the supplemental draft in 2012, and faces a year-long suspension as a result.
Now, a former NFL star who battled his own demons is giving Gordon some tough love.
“It’s fairly obvious that (using substances) is more important to him than anything else,” Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter said, via cleveland.com. “It’s always been very, very important to him. It’s well-documented that it’s been primary since early college. Maybe it even goes back to early high school.”
Carter dealt with a drug addiction early in his NFL career but turned his life around after being cut by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1990.
Carter works privately with NFL players struggling with drug problems and says he is willing to help Gordon, but only if the Cleveland Browns star comes to him.
“If the building is on fire and the person decides to stay in there, I don’t run in there and get him out,” Carter said. “If you see them breaking the glass, if you see them struggling and trying to get out — that’s my analogy of how I help out the guys in the league and the kids that really, really need help.”
At just 23 years old, Gordon has the potential to be one of the best receivers in the NFL for years to come. If he fails to deal with his off-field issues, though, a possible Hall of Fame career could be cut painfully short.
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