Long bedeviled by alcohol and drugs, superbly talented WR Josh Gordon claimed by Seahawks, likely for one big reason: Richard Sherman and Monday Night Football.
Richard Sherman, meet new Seahawk Josh Gordon. Josh, meet ex-Seahawk Richard.
See you both at a high point in the end zone on a Monday night.
In three sentences, that’s largely why the Seahawks would hire a messed-up dude like Gordon, waived Thursday by the New England Patriots.
The Seahawks claimed him off waivers Friday after 27 other teams skipped over this incredible talent — in 2014 with Cleveland, he became he first player in NFL history to have back-to-back games of 200 yards receiving — because the risk is relatively small. If he screws up again, buh-bye.
But the chance that he might be able to help at all with beating Sherman and the undefeated 49ers Nov. 11 in Santa Clara — the season’s pivot point because it’s likely the only way to accomplish winning the NFC West title and home-field advantage for a playoff game — was irresistible.
According to coach Pete Carroll Friday, Gordon won’t be ready for the home game Sunday against Tampa Bay (1:05 p.m., FOX). But if health and conditioning permit, the Seahawks would like to give Sherman a third choice to chase, after WRs Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.
“He’s a unique talent,” Carroll said. “He’s done a lot of good stuff and made a lot of good plays. I’ve said it a million times to you guys that we’re always looking for guys that have something special about them. We need to find out. We’ll take a look next week and see what that means.
“He’s a big-play guy. He’s been able to really stretch the field. Those that I know who have worked with him and coached him, they rave about his talent and his play-making ability.”
A lot of others rail about Gordon’s self-destructive behavior that has compromised his play, which started in middle school in Houston, followed him in college to Baylor, then with the Browns, who took him first in the second round of the 2012 supplemental draft.
The Boston Globe compiled a timeline published Aug. 31 of Gordon’s drug and alcohol problems. Warning: The misdeeds for sensitive readers may be a little hard on the head and heart.
Remarkably, Gordon, 28, has been candid and open about his failings, and also cites the fact that the sports system helped along his mess.
“I’ve been enabled most of my life, honestly,” Gordon told Uninterrupted in 2017. “I’ve been enabled by coaches, teachers, professors — everybody pretty much gave me a second chance just because of my ability.”
Now his multiple second chances are extended to Seattle, where the receivers unit has done OK this season, but beyond Lockett has yet to develop a consistent deep threat. The idea of having another receiver the size and build of Metcalf to go stand in the end zone and wave “hi!” to Russell Wilson outstrips any cringe over further enablement, or any apprehension that he’s played a full season only once, in 2012 in Cleveland.
Gordon’s career stats:
In the annals of self-destructive bad-boy hires by the Seahawks, Gordon is not as weird as WR Percy Harvin, whose anxiety disorder went undetected before acquiring him in 2013 for massive treasure. On the other end, it won’t be as good as LB Mychal Kendricks, whose white-collar crime of insider trading was a new, and more palatable, crime, for which he pleaded guilty and made restitution.
Gordon falls on the bad-boy spectrum in the area of WR Koren Robinson, Seattle’s 2001 first-round draft choice whose variety of arrests, suspensions, failed drug rehabs and unpaid bills set a high standard for lowness.
By September 2018, Cleveland had enough of Gordon to trade him to New England for a fifth-round pick. After playing for coach Bill Belichick in 11 games and catching 40 passes, Gordon announced he was stepping away from football to focus on his mental health.
So, Seattle’s offense got better. And Russell Wilson’s relationship with Josh Gordon helped. https://t.co/9Yg9kMoeC0
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 1, 2019
Around that time the NFL suspended him indefinitely for violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement under the league’s substance-abuse policy. Commissioner Roger Goodell lifted the suspension in August, after Gordon signed in April a one-year, $2 million contract with the Pats. That means the Seahawks are obligated for the final half of the deal, but it’s not guaranteed.
The Pats had six starts from him that included 20 catches in 36 targets for 287 yards before he left the Oct. 10 game with a minor knee injury. He hasn’t played since.
“I don’t know, physically, how he is doing right now,’ said Carroll, “other than that he’s okay, is what we’ve heard.”
To make roster room, the Seahawks waived DE Dekuda Watson, whom they had signed two days earlier. They now have eight receivers, which is likely one too many, and will have to make a cut this weekend to accommodate the return Sunday of TE Ed Dickson, who has been on injured reserve for eight weeks after minor knee surgery.
Not that the 6-2 Seahawks are overlooking the 2-5 Bucs, but the Monday Night game against the 49ers just ratcheted up with Gordon potentially joining the hostilities. After losing at home to the Ravens and Earl Thomas, Carroll has even less desire to be mocked by another celebrity castaway.