Former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver is known as a class act after being a key locker room leader for the Packers, and he was also an excellent wide receiver during his career. Loyal to the Packers organization, Driver won a Super Bowl near the end of his career, and he earned a reputation for being a dependable, silky route-runner.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has much more natural talent, as evidenced by his incredible 2013 season. Despite being suspended and playing with terrible quarterbacks, Gordon was still the clear league leader in receiving yards with 1,646 yards on 87 catches. Big, fast, and ridiculously explosive, Gordon averaged nearly 19 yards per reception, hauled in nine touchdowns, and averaged an unbelievable 117.6 yards per contest.
Gordon’s career, though, is on life support at this point, and nobody would be surprised if the Browns decide to cut ties with him after he was arrested for a DWI. He was already involved in two off-field incidents this offseason dealing with marijuana, and there’s no doubt that he’ll be suspended for the 2014 season after this latest transgression (he was already set to be suspended for the whole year anyway). Gordon could also miss a chunk of time in 2015, and the Browns could simply decide that he isn’t worth keeping around despite his elite talent and their relative lack of talent at wide receiver.
There’s no doubt that Gordon needs help, but it’s up to him to seek it. He already has a great offer from Driver, who tweeted yesterday that Gordon should “Holla at me” if he needs Driver “in anyway”. There’s no doubt that Gordon needs Driver in a big way, and I hope he has it in him to make the call. But getting the gracious Driver to mentor him isn’t enough, as the Baylor product also needs professional help and others in his corner.
I’m sure there’s a great support system available for him (Driver will also most likely push him towards the right people), but it’s up to Gordon to show the initiative to take these steps. If he wants to keep what could be a Hall of Fame career intact, then he needs to turn his life around. If he can’t, then his career could become one of the greatest “What Ifs” in league history.