On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns will get a new weapon back on offense as they visit the Chargers, as speedster Josh Gordon returns to the field for the first time since Dec. 21, 2014. The 26-year-old has been suspended by the NFL or by the Browns on five separate occasions following failed tests for marijuana, codeine and alcohol.
In an interview published three weeks ago by GQ, the Houston-native admitted that he had something in his system “probably every game of his career.”
The NFL’s 2013 receiving-yards leader sat down with Ben Baskin of Sports Illustrated to come clean about the toxic environment he grew up in–gangbanging, drug-dealing, carjackings, armed robberies, and shootouts he participated in.
As a sophomore at Lamar High in Houston, Gordon joined the Six Deuce Harvard Park Brim Bloods, affiliated with the South Central L.A. gang. He joined the gain after feeling vulnerable and alone and to pull in some cash to help provide for his perpetually evicted family. But the majority of his income came from counterfeit money.
Via Sports Illustrated:
The gang would spend $100 to get $2,000 in fake currency, Gordon says, then he would go to McDonald’s and buy five $1 cheeseburgers with a large bill in order to get the legit change.
Gordon would steal cars “almost every day,” he says, because “we just needed a ride.” He would either shatter a vehicle’s window or manipulate the locking mechanism, and his partner would do the hot-wiring. He also worked on a three-man crew that broke into homes—always empty, he says, but he was often carrying a gun—to steal electronics. “Whenever [the gang] could use you, exploit you on anything that puts you in danger of going to prison,” he says, “[I’d] be the guy.”
Gordon’s precarious ways followed him to Baylor, a school he chose due to a supervised probation on a credit card fraud arrest prohibited him from living outside of Texas.
As a sophomore at Baylor he says he was receiving as much as six pounds of weed—vacuum-sealed and wrapped in Mylar, sprayed with kerosene and covered in coffee beans to mask the smell, shipped through U.S. mail—every week from a dealer back home. He would drive to Dallas, Austin and San Antonio to sell it, and he estimates he was bringing in upward of $10,000 in profit every month. He was arrested for possession in fall 2010 and one year later was indefinitely suspended for failing a school drug test.
Gordon will either be a successful comeback story or the master of his own demise. At this point, there’s no in between.
[h/t Sports Illustrated]