BY Art Thiel 07:48PM 11/01/2019

Thiel: For Sherman, Seahawks add Josh Gordon

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.

Despite his immense talent, WR Josh Gordon fell all the way to 28th on the waiver wire before the Seahawks claimed him. / nbcsports.com

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.

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.


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YourThoughts

  • Kevin Lynch

    I’d say the Hawks have a pretty good shot at S.F. at home and at the end of the schedule. But not in the Bay when they are rolling like this. Gordon or no Gordon.

    • art thiel

      They didn’t look omnipotent vs. AZ.

      • Kevin Lynch

        Sure, on any given Sunday…but I’m thinking the 49er’s likely had an 11 point road win but for that 88 yard play in the 4th quarter. They are missing some people and they’re going to need them back. But Jimmy G’s got a head of steam going and has shown he’s a playmaker.

  • jafabian

    At the very least the Hawks now have a legit third receiver which they need with Dissly out. Can’t do any worse when Gordon had Brady’s stamp of approval.

    • art thiel

      Brady, and Wilson, have only to deal with the guy between the lines. The other stuff is left to the professionals, and they haven’t had a lot of success providing guardrails.

  • Husky73

    This smacks of desperation. I guess the Seahawks weren’t paying attention regarding Antonio Brown.

    • Chris Alexander

      I disagree. I think it is an example of the front office’s remarkable “thoroughness.” Consider:

      1. Everyone on the planet knew that Gordon was headed to the waiver wire days before it happened, thus John Schneider and his staff had plenty of time to do their due diligence.

      2. Everyone in the league knew what the waiver order was – i.e. the Seahawks knew they were 28th and that the chances of the 27 teams in front of them ALL passing on Gordon probably wasn’t high but ….

      3. It’s been public knowledge that Russell Wilson is friends with Gordon and “wished” he had him on his team.

      4. $1,000,000 for 8 games from an elite talent at a skill position is a STEAL.

      5. NONE of the money on Gordon’s contract is guaranteed.

      Looking at it another way, the Seahawks putting in a claim cost them NOTHING. The fact that they got him is amazing. But it still doesn’t mean that he’ll ever play a down for us because all it REALLY means is that he’ll fly to Seattle, meet with the team, and it only sets them back the cost of the flight if they don’t like what Gordon has to say when they sit down with him.

      Oh, and then there’s the fact that Gordon has been very open about “the system” enabling him and people giving him numerous second chances. Unless we learn later on that his agent was reaching out to the teams that Gordon did NOT want to play for and discouraging them from making a claim, Gordon just learned that 28 of the 32 teams in the NFL (the 27 in front of the Seahawks in the waiver order plus the Patriots) – and maybe 31 of the 32 – were NOT willing to enable him or give him another chance despite his prodigious talent.

      • art thiel

        I agree the Seahawks were prepared in the unlikely event he fell.

        It’s important to note that, other than being late/missing meetings, nothing has been reported about him being a disruptive teammate. Unlike Brown, he is well liked by teams and coaches. He has proven unreliable because of his addictions, not a personality disorder.

    • art thiel

      Not the same guy.

  • Tian Biao

    ‘Remarkably, Gordon, 28, has been candid and open about his failings . . . ‘ That is certainly noteworthy: not many people can manage that. I take it as a positive sign . . .

    • art thiel

      It’s also true that chronic abusers know the language of rehab so well that they can fool outsiders.

  • DJ

    Thanks Art!
    There is a definite need for 3rd receiver after seeing the last couple of games. If Jeron Brown played, he was covered. David Moore was in over his head against ATL, couldn’t get separation on 2 targets, and a 3rd he turned inside on an out-route when, Russ (as he has a good practice of doing) threw safely to his outside shoulder – ARGH!
    Hard to gain chemistry with a new face in a week, but maybe between Gordon’s talent and the apparent friendship with Russ, that gap is somewhat filled. The team seems to have really good chemistry and a brotherhood that hopefully will allow Gordon to fit in, rather than disrupt the way things are. Having that 3rd threat no doubt will stress the D and help across the board. Not lost are Gordon’s issues – best of luck to the kid!

    Regarding Sherm & 49ers: I’m not fooled by their 8-0 record. Their super slack record against a combined 20W-40L opponents hasn’t really been talked about (I guess it’s easier to hype momentary greatness than to admit reality). Niners are 1-0 against a winning team. Given the 26-46 record of Hawk’s opponents, and their 6-2 record, one could contend that they are even, while 1-2 against winners.
    For the 2nd half of the season, records of both opponents are nearly equivalent – tough, and Hawks slightly tougher (40-22 vs 40-23).
    In all likelihood, the NFC West comes down to the head to head between these two teams. Not looking past the Bucs….really!….but….I CAN’T WAIT – GO HAWKS!

  • woofer

    If Gordon is indeed more disturbed and unbalanced than narcissistic, it could work. That means he could be teachable. If he is motivated to change, there is room for hope. It might not succeed, but the risk is low.

    Gordon would seem to have a better chance of working out than someone like Antonio Brown who is burdened with a huge and demanding ego that resists change or instruction.

    • art thiel

      It’s impossible for any of us diagnose from afar. But his relapses after treatment are public record, and would be a burden for any team giving him more than a one year contract — or half a year, in Seahawks case.