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Josh Gordon must grow up if he wants to save NFL career

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Josh Gordon is in trouble. Again. Police say the Cleveland Browns receiver was arrested and charged with driving while impaired after being pulled over for speeding in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Growing list of issues

Add this to the ever-growing list of Gordon’s off-field issues with drugs and alcohol. The Pro Bowl wideout, after being suspended four games last season (later reduced to two), is currently facing a year-long ban under the league’s substance abuse policy. This latest incident doesn’t bode well for Gordon’s suspension hearing, which is scheduled later this month.

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The Cleveland Browns’ management had to know what they were risking by taking the talented receiver in the 2012 supplemental draft. He was suspended twice while at Baylor, then transferred to Utah where he sat out the entire 2011 season. But high risk can often lead to high rewards.

If he can stay on the field, Gordon is an explosive offensive weapon. Despite missing two games last season, he still ended up with 87 catches and led the NFL with 1,646 yards. He also became the first receiver in NFL history to have consecutive 200-yard receiving games.

Browns aware

But this just might be the end of the road for Gordon’s career. Although they didn’t draft a receiver this year, you have to assume that the new regime in Cleveland is prepared to move on from Gordon.

“We are aware of the matter and are disappointed to learn of this situation," Browns general manager Ray Farmer said.

"We will comment further at the appropriate time."

Farmer’s comments, or lack thereof, speak volumes about the situation.

Gordon is a professional football player. Think about it. Professional. Meaning, he gets paid to do a job. If he were an accountant, a teacher or held any other type of job with this type of track record, he would be shown the door immediately. And rightfully so.

NFL must help

The NFL goes to great lengths to educate and inform young players about the dangers of substance abuse. For some though, like Gordon, they just can’t seem to keep themselves out of trouble. Through its support system, the league can only do so much. Recovery and a change of lifestyle has to start with Gordon himself. Bottom line, he needs help.

Alcohol and drug abuse is a disease and needs to be treated. The league, as well as the Browns organization need to take a tough stance and provide Gordon the help he’s obviously been lacking since his college days. The question remains, can Gordon turn himself around and get back on the field again?

The NFL, although stern when it comes to arrests and substance abuse, does indeed provide second chances. Stars like Michael Vick, Plaxico Burress and Donte Stallworth were all allowed to play again after their off-field issues.

Gordon could be one of the top receivers in the game. Could, being the key word. Will he pull himself together and start acting like a professional football player? Or will the immaturity that has plagued his young career cause him to throw his NFL future away?

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