In 2013 Josh Gordon was on the verge of becoming the next great wide receiver in the NFL. The Browns young star recorded a league-best 1,646 yards in just 14 games, and Cleveland fans thought for once they might have a chance at turning their embarrassing franchise around. However that dream would be short lived, as their 6-foot-3, 230 lbs superstar-to-be would not play another professional game since December 2014.
The 26 years old, would miss two games in 2013, ten games in 2014, and the entire season in 2015, all marred by substance abuse issues that have become so consistent that they’re almost a punchline at this point. But, after a successful reinstatement hearing with the NFL, Gordon is cleared to practice with the Browns as early as November 20th with hopes of re-energizing his promising NFL career.
In a tell-all interview with GQ, Gordon opens up about his substance abuse and even admits that he had something in his system “probably every game of his career.” His struggle is real.
“Initially it started for me, [because of] a lot of childhood and adolescent trauma-based fear. I was using in my childhood. That environment brought me into that a lot sooner than a normal—whatever normal is—kid should be brought into that, to be able to make a decision on their own of what to do. I didn’t want to feel anxiety, I didn’t want to feel fear. I didn’t plan on living to 18. Day-to-day life, what’s gonna happen next? So you self-medicate with Xanax, with marijuana, codeine—to help numb those nerves so you can just function every day. That became the norm from middle school to high school. So by the time I got into my 20s, I was on an accelerated pace.”
When asked what helped accelerate his desire to get clean and pursue his dream of making it in the NFL, Gordon said this:
“To me, I envisioned my mom and my two brothers and myself and my daughter, living like say some imaginary house, but under the same roof. That’s something we haven’t’ done in a long time. It seems very simple—the concept might be oversimplified. I just wanted to have a healthy relationship with my family. And that’s what really kind of drove the initial desire to really get there.