The NFL has denied Josh Gordon’s application for reinstatement. The Cleveland wide receiver, who has not played in a regular-season game since 2014 due to violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, can apply for reinstatement later this fall.
“I would love to see Josh Gordon on the field,” The NFL Today’s Nate Burleson said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I would love to get him back in that mode to where he led the league in (receiving yards) – and I believe he only did it in 14 games.”
He did. In 2014, Gordon had 87 catches for a league-high 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns – again, in just 14 games.
Gordon, though, failed numerous drug tests over the years, and now he’s paying the price.
“I can’t be mad at the system,” Burleson said. “I can’t be mad at the machine. I’m not tying to get on here and seem like I’m the corporate guy and I’m going to say all the right things for the NFL. But if there’s rules in place and he broke them rules and the NFL is saying, ‘Listen, right now we’re not going to reinstate you,’ I’m not mad at the system. I’m mad at the fact that Josh Gordon put himself in that situation.”
Burleson, who played 11 NFL seasons, got a chance to see Gordon up close and personal for a few months in 2014. Burleson could sum up the experience in one word:
“Josh Gordon when healthy, Josh Gordon when in shape, Josh Gordon when his mind is right could easily be up there in the conversation of Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Julio Jones – without a doubt in my mind,” Burleson said. “From what I know about what he’s been doing this offseason, he’s in tremendous shape, so the league is missing out on a rare talent. The league is missing out on some highlights.”
And the Browns, perhaps the most success-starved team in the NFL, are missing out on a superstar.
“With all the talent they have on the roster, with all the talent they got in the draft, if you add Josh Gordon back healthy with his mind right, all of a sudden the Cleveland Browns could be a team fighting for a playoff spot,” Burleson said. “And I mean that with every bit of every word I’m saying. . . . I feel like if anybody can say that – not that I was top-tier, elite, All-Pro talent, but I was No. 2 to Randy Moss and Calvin Johnson. So if I see a guy and I can tell you he’s in that conversation, please believe that my eyes don’t lie.”