Monday, April 11, 2016

Is Josh Gordon the new Ricky Williams?

The story of Josh Gordon suspension issues is reminiscent of another exciting player that took the NFL by storm. 

Way back in 1999 legendary coach Mike Ditka shocked the world by helping the Saints send eight draft picks, including all of their 1999 selections, and 2000 first- and third-round choices, to Washington for the chance to select Ricky Williams with the No. 5 pick.

Williams had finished his senior season as the NCAA career rushing leader and became the first Longhorn to win the Heisman Trophy since Earl Campbell in 1977. Ditka compared Williams to some of the game's all-time great running backs and wanted to use his punishing run style as the cornerstone of his offense.

As Williams started to interact with his teammates more they noticed he had quirky ways and it was reported that he suffered with social anxiety disorder, avoidance disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

Williams had moderate success with the Saints, but when he was traded to the Dolphins in 2002 in his first season with the Dolphins, he was the NFL's leading rusher with 1,853 yards, a First-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowler.

After taking the NFL by storm it was announced on May 14, 2004 that he tested positive for marijuana in December 2003 and faced a $650,000 fine and a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Williams decided it would be best for him to retire before that punishment was handed down and he decided to study holistic medicine at the California College of Ayurveda. He officially returned to the Dolphins on July 24, 2005 and paid back a percentage of the money he made while also apologizing to his teammates.

Williams had a modest season by his standards finishing with six touchdowns and a 4.4 yards per carry average on 168 carries and 743 yards. But in February 20, 2006, the football league announced that Williams had violated the NFL drug policy for the fourth time, but one report suggests the substance could have been an herb taken when he studied holistic medicine.

Williams once again tried to make a comeback with the Dolphins in 2007, but as part of his reinstatement he agreed to a strict regimen of multiple drug tests per week. In order to help with his marijuana habit he decided to take up yoga and was able to play for the Dolphins for a few more years while also making history by being the 7th player in NFL history to begin a season age 32 or older, and reach 1,000 yards rushing that same season.

Now the NFL and the Cleveland Browns are dealing with their own Ricky Williams with talented wide receiver, Josh Gordon.

Gordon, who led the NFL and set a Browns record with 1,646 receiving yards in 2013, also had to miss two games because he was suspended due to violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

In 2014, Gordon announced that he had been suspended for one year for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, but eventually that ruling was reduced to 10 games amidst the new NFL drug policy.

During the 2014 season Gordon only played 5 games and caught 24 passes for 303 yards and was once again suspended this time by the Browns for the final game of the 2014 season due to a violation of team rules.

Gordon was forced to sit out the entire 2015 season after being suspended by the NFL and was hoping to get reinstated for the 2016 season, but new reports surface that he failed a drug test on March 20, 2016.

 The sample Gordon submitted tested positive for marijuana and dilute and while the sample was diluted in the eyes of the NFL it counts as a failed drug test.

Unlike Williams the future is still unknown for the explosive and talented wide out, Gordon, but time will tell if is just an irresponsible kid that is going down a road of self-destruction or dealing with other mental health issues that has prevented him from making smart decisions.

His NFL career is now in the hands of Roger Goodell and his spot with the Cleveland Browns might also be in jeopardy as he has now become a liability.   

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