Extra Points: Beyond football for Browns, Gordon

Extra Points: Beyond football for Browns, Gordon

<p>Recovery is for those who want it, not those who need it.</p>

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Recovery is for those who want it, not those who need it.

Josh Gordon needs help, but the 23-year-old star receiver hasn't figured out that part of the equation just yet, and until he does, the Cleveland Browns can't afford to support him any longer.

That's a tough realization for any organization, but it's also a necessary one for a tortured club which also has to deal with a painfully immature rookie quarterback in Johnny Manziel.

Manziel has made it abundantly clear by his offseason behavior that Sin City, Hollywood and Playboy models are far more important to him than Kyle Shanahan's playbook, but for better or worse, he's the face of the franchise moving forward and he is burning the bridge for the first of what are sure to be multiple chances in the NFL.

Gordon, on the other hand, is already a serial idiot, bent on destroying what could have been a spectacular NFL career.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound All-Pro was picked up in Raleigh, North Carolina, for driving while impaired early Saturday morning. In addition to the DUI charge, Gordon was issued a speeding citation for going 50 mph in a 35-mph zone.

"We are aware of the matter and are disappointed to learn of this situation," Browns general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement. "We will comment further at the appropriate time."

According to WRAL in Raleigh, Gordon blew a .09 on his breathalyzer test, just over North Carolina's legal limit of .08, and admitted consuming three mixed drinks before getting behind the wheel.

That's the kind of mistake that could be written off rather quickly as a far- too typical mistake by a young man, but Gordon's history makes that kind of thought process impossible.

As does his choice in traveling companions. Gordon was with Haydn Thomas when he was pulled over. Thomas is a self-described party promoter who was previously convicted on drug as well as gun charges and has been described by local police as a well-known hustler in The Triangle, an area in the Tar Heel State highlighted by North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina.

Thomas, who bailed Gordon out of jail, was involved in the demise of P.J. Hairston's basketball career at UNC and also linked to Hairston's former teammate Leslie McDonald, who missed nine games for accepting impermissible benefits.

On Monday, WRAL reported that Gordon was behind the wheel of a 2015 Cadillac Escalade registered to Hairston, was drafted No. 26 overall by the Miami Heat last month in the NBA draft before being traded to the Charlotte Hornets.

Hairston also was arrested over the weekend for allegedly punching a high school player during a pickup game at a YMCA.

Gordon's arrest, of course, is just the latest in a plethora of off-the-field issues for the receiver, who served a two-game substance abuse-related suspension last year and was already facing a year-long ban in 2014, pending an appeal scheduled for later this month.

The Browns already surmised they couldn't count on Gordon this year and brought in a number of veteran receivers, including Andrew Hawkins, Nate Burleson and Miles Austin.

"We have to build a football team that can win regardless of who is missing," Farmer said during OTAs when discussing Gordon's potential suspension. "I think that's the charge that we have. That's my job, that's coach (Mike) Pettine's job is to prepare this football team to win games regardless of who's missing."

Gordon's latest faux pas likely won't have an impact on his pending substance- abuse penalty because the personal-conduct policy is a different entity but those are semantic arguments based in legalese, the kind of minutia championed by the very enablers who have created the runaway locomotive that is Josh Gordon.

The Browns have been the lead-enablers for Gordon in recent years and have been content to wait out the suspensions in the hopes the young man eventually matures and they can be the ones who reap the benefits of his immense football talent.

And that's understandable. Farmer's and Pettine's very careers hinge on the simple act of winning football games. The NFL as a whole has little use for losses couched in excuses, but this is no longer about football.

This is about helping a young man struggling with addiction, albeit marijuana, alcohol or something far more sinister.

Former Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, who was a real leader in the Cleveland locker room from 2006 through 2013, served as the voice of reason on Twitter.

"If you're close to Josh Gordon please help this kid," Jackson tweeted. "It's not about football anymore it's about picking up the pieces of his life."

It's time for the Browns to follow that advice and practice some tough love.

Gordon may eventually make a Cris Carter-like comeback from his addiction and reach his Hall of Fame potential. To do that, however, he needs his wake-up call and Farmer or Pettine has to play the role of Buddy Ryan.

In that scenario, it's conceivable that the Browns' GM or coach spends a decade or so as the pariah who gave up too soon on the superstar receiver, a narrative that will exist only until the day Gordon admits the move saved his career.

Sometimes life is about more than sports, and to teach maturity you have to exercise it.

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