BY Art Thiel 06:00AM 12/04/2020

Thiel: Gordon, Penny may be Seahawks’ presents

WR Josh Gordon is eligible to play for Seahawks Dec. 27 vs. the Rams, and RB Rashaad Penny could be back Monday. For Seahawks fans, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Despite his immense talent, Josh Gordon fell all the way to 28th on the waiver wire before the Seahawks claimed him Nov 1, 2019. / nbcsports.com

Just in case you blocked it out, here’s a Seahawks chronology from one year ago:

Dec. 8, RB Rashaad Penny was lost for the season after tearing an ACL. Dec. 16, WR Josh Gordon was suspended for the season for the fifth time in eight years for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Dec. 22, RB Chris Carson was lost for the season with a cracked hip, the same day RB C.J. Prosise broke his arm and was lost for the season.

And notables LT Duane Brown (knee) and DE Jadeveon Clowney (core) were wobbling around in pain that diminished their play.

We all know that injuries in the NFL are random, varying from team to team, player to player, with few connections year to year and day to day. The little reminder above is offered up only to fans who have booked the remainder of the Seahawks regular season at 5-0.

Crap happens.

The cavalcade of Christmas-season crap was part of why the Seahawks lost three of their four December games, missed out on sweeping the 49ers (by an inch), and in the playoffs were forced to travel to Green Bay, where their season on a frozen night broke down because of injuries — after a trip to Philadelphia to beat a team more broken down than they were.

In the off-season, the Seahawks armored up the position with free agent Carlos Hyde, which was smart, but only went so far.

By October, the Seahawks were dipping into the franchise’s recycle bin for Alex Collins and Bo Scarbrough. As with Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin in December, they were emergency hires when Carson was injured again, along with Hyde this time.

Sunday, Carson and Hyde were back togther and in action, Carson carrying eight times for 41 yards and Hyde 15 for 22 yards, and both had a pair of receptions, in Seattle’s 23-17 win over the Eagles.

Then came Thursday. As the Seahawks prep for the 4-7 New York Giants Sunday, Carson was listed as limited in practice (foot) and Hyde didn’t participate (toe). But by Friday, Carroll sounded optimistic both would play.

Amid the perpetual mystery at running back came a sliver of good news for the Seahawks: Carroll confirmed Penny will be back at practice Monday, 364 days after his injury.

“Rashaad’s getting real close to doing some stuff,” coach Pete Carroll said Thursday. “I’m excited to see if it’s going to be these next couple days or Monday, But we’re right there for Rashaad to jump back in here.”

Mr. Sunshine said this Nov. 10: “He’s working out, he’s cutting. He’s as strong as he’s ever been, he’s at a good weight for him. It’s just a matter of when they feel, and he feels, that he’s got the confidence to go out there and bang those cuts.

“Being a speedster and a stop-and-start kind of guy, he’s got to get all that movement done before we can cut him loose.”

After a year away, it’s anyone’s guess about his fitness. But as every department store manager used to say: Part-time help in December is a big deal.

Which can also be said for Gordon.

The NFL finally reinstated Gordon, 29, from his indefinite suspension Thursday, but the earliest he can play is the week 16 game with the Rams Dec. 27.  Gordon signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks in September. If he registers negative COVID-19 tests, he can attend team meetings and individual workouts starting Wednesday, but not practice. The timing suggests that the NFL’s indefinite suspension, never explained, meant a calendar year.

Gordon has played 63 games since the Cleveland Browns selected him in the 2012 supplemental draft. He has 247 receptions for 4,252 yards and 20 touchdowns in his career.

When he applied for reinstatement in mid-June, his lawyer, Adam Kenner, told reporters that the death of Gordon’s brother in November was the cause of his lapse that drew the suspension.

“That set him back,” Kenner said. “But since that time, he has realized how important it is for him to take the right steps, do what’s proper, and understand how to manage these issues. He’s installed the right team around him to make sure he’s on the right path. He understands he’s been given every chance. He looks forward to making the most of this.”

Naturally, Russell Wilson, who heard the news just before practice, was delighted.

“He’s an amazing receiver, a guy who was great last year for us,” he said. “Obviously, he’s been a great player, but I think more anything else, it’s a testament hopefully to his growth in life.”

Gordon’s problem has been addiction. He has not been regarded as a disruptive or selfish teammate. But in his Seattle turn, he was little-used. In 136 snaps over five games, Gordon caught seven balls in 11 targets for 139 yards, including a 58-yard diving catch against Carolina, a play offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer won’t forget.

“He really only gets a couple of his fingertips on it, but (it was an) unbelievable catch going to the ground,” he said Thursday. “I can’t wait to catch up once he gets through all the protocols. He was an unbelievable pro, just the way he worked.

“He’s got to get up to speed with the things we’re doing. I don’t think that will be any problem. He’s as confident of a catcher as there is in the NFL, with his hands and ability to make plays in traffic.”

As with the return of Penny, the Seahawks love holiday gifts, especially after the football gods a year ago left Seattle off their list.


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YourThoughts

  • Kevin Lynch

    I think you’re right, Art. It certainly looks like they have a legitimate shot at going all the way in the conference and maybe playing the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. That would be an exciting game. I have been a skeptic about the full meal deal with this team but I have to admit they are getting healthier and have an outstanding track record in December. Two things. They have to keep improving the rush and then find a way to crank the loudspeakers on the home playoff game.

    • art thiel

      The NFC has no dominant team, but several who can build some momentum in December. If Adams and Dunlap are healthy, that gives the D five premium players (Wagner, Wright, Diggs). That’s a lot these days.

      • Husky73

        Add Molden in 2021.

        • 1coolguy

          Got that right! Guy’s a stud, but will be gone before our pick – do we have a pick in the first?

          • art thiel

            No. The Seahawks have four picks.

      • 1coolguy

        Art – Who are the other two?

        • art thiel

          Count along with me: Adams, Dunlap, Wagner, Wright, Diggs.

    • Chris Alexander

      I’d prefer to face the Steelers in the Super Bowl, in part to help ease the pain from losing SB XL to them.

      • Husky73

        Randle El with the back breaker.

      • 1coolguy

        And Roethlisberger has no wheels – Mahomes is just too tough. Too many teams lose contain and then it’s over. Maybe after Adams spanks him a few times he’ll stay within the tackles, but I wouldn’t count on it.

      • art thiel

        The right of the fan: To play ’em seven games at a time.

    • 1coolguy

      If Tre Flowers starts against KC, it’s over

  • Alan Harrison

    If I have 10 eggs, then I’m going to have 10 chickens, right? You are such an optimist (which is great, by the way). 1-0 this weekend!

    • art thiel

      Calling me an optimist might be a career first for me.

    • eyeroq

      I see it more as an assessment of the facts and playing the odds. The only downside risk is if Gordon relapses. I’d say the odds that he can stay clean for the 6 weeks at most left in the reg season+playoffs he’ll be eligible to play to be pretty good.

      But even in the worst case scenario he relapses, what’s the downside to the team? I”m not seeing any downside from continuing not to have his contributions on a roster that he hasn’t played on yet. The stakes are negligible.

      • art thiel

        Gordon’s return amounts to a luxury, not a need — until a WR gets hurt.

  • 1coolguy

    The health of the Hawks is real cause for optimism. They will especially need these guys in the LA and SF games. Barring injury, we can also expect the D to improve as they meld into a unit gaining experience playing with each other.

    • art thiel

      The Giants and Jets are foes that can give the better foe a chance to rest a few starters.

  • LarryLurex70

    Hopefully the addition of “unbelievable pro” Gordon will help Russ forget about AB

    • art thiel

      Wilson believes everyone is rehab-able (to invent a word). Gordon, unlike Percy Harvin, is a low-risk teammate. His addiction causes him to disappear, not disrupt.

      • 1coolguy

        Percy Harvin – the name that never goes away – must keep JS up at night

  • Hockeypuck

    Josh Gordon has been candid about his ongoing struggles addiction, and it seems he genuinely wants to conquer his demons (which have plagued him since childhood. Has never any issues with the law. Can’t think of a single person who has ever question his makeup or morality; seems everyone is genuinely hoping for him to win this battle. No matter, the league essentially suspends him for one year.

    Antonio Brown is accused of sexual assault by two women. Destroys his apartment, tossing furniture from the 22nd floor, narrowing missing an infant on the ground floor. He and his trainer are accused of assault by truck driver working for moving company. He receives an 8-game suspension.

    What’s wrong with this effing picture?

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    • art thiel

      Fair question. The NFL would say Gordon has a long history of repeated offenses of NFL policy that’s provable. Some of the claims against Brown are in legal dispute. And being a generally bad guy does not disqualify him from employment. That would disqualify a number of players, as well as coaches and executives.

      • Hockeypuck

        Yes, you are correct. I realize that “where there’s smoke there’s fire” is not an argument that would hold water with the Supremes (no matter how the court is tilted).
        But in the real world, we all know that back-channel background checks, lexus-nexus searches etc. are the REAL way suitability for employment is determined. Personal reputations determine everything. AB has miserably failed to meet any reasonable, normal standard you or I would apply if we were sizing up our daughter’s latest boyfriend, buying a used car from a casual friend, whatever.
        Antonio Brown leaves an oil-slick in the wake of his personal behavior; Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid are squeaky-clean and yet will never be employed in their chosen profession again. All because of their too-early embrace of a “radical” cause was inconvenient from a marketing perspective. One that that the bloated-ass corporate white guys (led by Roger Goodell) are now clumsily and belatedly embracing in the most saccharin was possibly. The NFL’s personal conduct policy is simply rank-hypocrisy at its’ worst.
        In the interests of not spewing sanctimony without proffering a solution, perhaps the NFL should enhance their policy and make reinstatement subject to satisfactory completion of personal counseling, drug rehab, etc. tailored to the specific behavior involved. Trying to eliminate what seems to be arbitrary enforcement of their personal conduct policy would be a good first step..

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